Getting to Know Abi Roszell, Our New FCF Executive Director
It was announced in September that, after a thorough search conducted by the Board of Directors, the position of Executive Director for the Fayette Community Foundation had been filled by Abigail (Abi) Roszell. You may recognize her name as she formerly worked in the Fayette Community Foundation office as the Office Coordinator and Data Specialist. She was later promoted to Director of Communications and Donor Relations. As Executive Director, she puts this experience – combined with her time at the Rush County Foundation and experience in economic development – to work by overseeing the daily operations of the Foundation, carrying out directions from the Board of Directors, and advising the Board on changes and trends that will inform the way they lead the organization.
We recently sat down with Abi to get to know her and her leadership style.
What motivated you to accept this appointment to Executive Director?
“The responsibility of leading an organization with such devotion to the community is a lot of pressure but this is the kind of work that I love. It’s incredibly satisfying to see a problem and be able to help people find a solution – whether that is through advocacy or funding organizations that actively solve the problem. I’m looking forward to being able to dive more fully into that aspect of the job as I get settled in the role. It is so special to have the privilege to help the community in such a hands-on and lasting way.”
What are the challenges someone may face in this role?
“There are a number of challenges that any Executive Director of a charitable organization may face. The biggest ones that come to mind are declines in donations, youth engagement, and networking with our community organizations.
Inflation has caused giving to decline everywhere. Lilly Endowment Inc. recently announced Gift VIII, which is a great opportunity to bring in more money from outside the community to match gifts that come from within Fayette County. This means we can do more with the donations we do receive – but I’d like to find ways to increase our donor pool and make sure those with a heart for improving Fayette County know that the Foundation is a great way to accomplish their goals.
Youth involvement is another area I’d like to improve. We need to provide an outlet for teens that allows them to connect with their community and charitable giving now, instead of waiting for them to reach a certain level of success and hoping they’ll remember Fayette County. I’d like to eventually develop a Youth Philanthropy Organization to get them active and involved now. This allows our youth (and me!) to better understand the service organizations we have and get out in the community as much as possible.”
What is your leadership style?
“I value transparency and open communication. I want people to feel free to reach out and tell me when they need my help and when they want to collaborate. I want community members to feel comfortable asking us questions about our funds, our role in the community, and opportunities to support us. I’m also a big proponent of celebrating successes – no matter how small. I like to identify good work when it happens, and I like to recognize it and the people that made it happen. I hope that by encouraging a positive and welcoming environment, our team will feel comfortable coming to me with any challenges they face. I also want to know when we’re not meeting those expectations. We’ll identify and share when things do go right and then we work collaboratively to solve problems as they come.”
How will you ensure transparency?
“Community trust is the only way this works, and the Foundation has already been doing a good job with this, so I don’t anticipate any big changes in communication. We know it’s effective. The Board of Directors will always have my transparency since they get to see nearly everything we do in the office. The community hears about our work in our Annual Impact Report, email newsletters, and social media. My goal is to remain a steady, consistent presence. We’ve been here for 36 years, and I want us to stay here for another 36 years – and more! Being in the community and serving those in it is so important. As long as we stay true to our mission, we’re on the right track.”
You can meet Abi and make your impact on Fayette County at the Fayette Community Foundation’s 3rd Annual Candy Canes & Cocoa Winter Giving Event. Join us on December 1 from 5-8pm. You’ll be greeted with a holiday décor display and can warm up with our delicious hot cocoa. Say hello to Abi and the Foundation team before enjoying the other fun things you’ll find at the Historic Downtown Connersville Winterfest.
-Board of Directors, Fayette Community Foundation