Convening the Community

Do you remember group projects in grade school? For some, it was an exciting chance to socialize with your friends and work as a team. For others, group projects were challenging but a good opportunity to practice your collaboration skills and prepare you for the group work of adult life.  

So why do we groan when we think of group projects now? Group work in the classroom was far easier than it is in the workplace! Your teacher controlled the variables, convened the resources, and quietly encouraged your group as you and your teammates completed the project. You may not have realized it at the time, but your teacher worked hard to set you and your classmates up for success.   

In adult life, we don’t have our benevolent teachers making sure we think of all the aspects of a problem, working to hone our leadership skills, and convening all the resources we need to get the job done. What we do have is the lessons they’ve given us over the years – and the perspective to solve problems in new ways. At the Fayette Community Foundation, we’re using our resources to put a new spin on complex community problem-solving. 

The Tip of the Iceberg 

Our local nonprofit organizations do so much for Fayette County. When you interact with them, you may see the incredible work they do to solve urgent needs within the community, but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes. This includes strategic planning, fundraising, public relations, coordination of volunteers, and much, much more. It’s safe to say that every nonprofit has a lot on their plate. You can think of it like an iceberg: what you see nonprofit organizations doing is just a small portion of the important work they do to support our community. 

Now, what happens when even larger problems within the community are identified? How do our local organizations collaborate to solve these problems? It’s a lot like those group projects we all had in grade school. Teams need to know the specific problem, what resources are available, have a neutral meeting space to collaborate, choose metrics to track, find data to analyze, and find leaders to get the conversation started…all while maintaining their own daily operations and working towards their own strategic goals. In short: they need the community’s support just the way we needed our teachers’ guidance on group projects. 

Community Leadership 

As a community foundation, we’ve found that one of the best ways to support our local nonprofit organizations is to get people working together. We do that by convening resources. When you think about the Fayette Community Foundation, you may think of us mostly as an asset builder or grant maker, but we also work to inclusively unite people, organizations, and resources to address Fayette County’s most difficult challenges to produce positive change and lasting results.  

Here’s how this is accomplished: 

  • We offer space by letting organizations use our meeting rooms to bring together nonprofits, community leadership, and residents to discuss needs within the community.  
  • We share data so that no organization is working alone or feels like it has to start from scratch to build and assess metrics for success. 
  • We keep a bird’s-eye-view on our community so that we can alert local leadership when we see change occurring. 
  • We bring together like-minded organizations so that larger community problems can be addressed through collaboration and shared resources. 
  • We stimulate dialogue and share expertise with our local government, community leaderships, and nonprofit organizations. 

In addition to helping people achieve their philanthropic goals, we work to start conversations, promote understanding, and collaborate with leadership in the community. 

Ready to Pitch In? 

We all work together to support community teamwork. You can even help us.  

  • Do you have insight, expertise, or a unique perspective? Call us!  
  • Do you have access to community data that could help organizations make informed decisions? Tell us!  
  • Do you share the belief that our community is Better Together? Support us!  

We’ll help you make connections with other community leaders so you can lend your support to organizations that make an impact on Fayette County. To learn more, give us a call at (765) 827-9966 or email info@givetofcf.com 

– Alexandra Pflug, Executive Director and CEO, Fayette Community Foundation 

(First Appeared in the Connersville New Examiner)