At the “Trends and Realities” plenary, the panelists all recognized economic issues in their communities as being among those things that kept them up at night. But my biggest take-away came from Mariam Noland, President of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. When she noted that “Detroit is bankrupt only in the sense that it has no money,” I was reminded that a lack of money is not a problem of the same magnitude as a lack of creativity, or passion, or culture, or caring, or initiative, or strength of character, or work-ethic. With many of these other things in place (and an amazing community foundation, of course) the money issue can be improved over time. Hope can be alive and well in any community if the bankruptcy is only financial. Thanks, Mariam, for the timely reminder!
Denise K. Spencer is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.