Building Communities Is as Easy as P.I.E.!

Passion, integrity, and engagement: These are the key ingredients to successful outcomes or growth in a community (well, everywhere, really). It takes passion to get involved and make changes. It takes integrity be steadfast and do what you say you are going to do, especially when facing the extraordinary challenges we see today in communities, the economy, the government, or even within foundations themselves. And lastly, it takes engagement to set and achieve identified goals.

If we are to believe the hype (some may call it news), then we are in a downward spiral and heading toward an epic fail. But I don’t believe that’s true. Sure, the times are challenging. Sure, the money is tight. But it is in the face of this kind of adversity that we shine, in our communities and as a nation. We’re fighters and we like to beat the odds!

As we all prepare to go to New Orleans for the Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations, let’s take a moment to reflect on how, just a few years ago, New Orleans was in crisis. It was the passion, integrity, and engagement of the citizens of that city (and our nation) that saw it through the worst of times. The progress of this remarkable city is a testament to the resiliency and strength of community.

This year’s conference is loaded with opportunities to learn, grow, strategize, develop your network, and increase your impact. Of course, we’re offering the perennial favorites like the Center for Community Foundation Excellence, the Advanced Legal Seminar, and the Council’s prestigious Film and Video Festival. But we’re also bringing in experts who will help us navigate newer territory, such as how to meet the needs of our returning veterans (featuring Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America), and the importance of engaging the next generation of philanthropic professionals, based on research done by 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention food. I mean, we’ll be in New Orleans! We’ll meet local chefs John Besh and Leah Chase, talk about the culture of food in New Orleans and throughout the country, and think about how philanthropy fits into this conversation.

So please, join us for a big slice of P.I.E. (with a scoop of vanilla, please)! See you in New Orleans!

Suzanne Stringfield is the coordinator for family philanthropy services at the Council on Foundations

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