Home, and the Role of Community Foundations

I had the chance last week to pay a visit to my friends at the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF), which is based in Grand Haven, Michigan.  Aside from the fact that they still had snow on the ground (!!!) the trip went well, and we had a great discussion. 

I also had the chance to congratulate Rob Collier, CMF President, on his upcoming retirement.  Rob has led CMF for nearly twenty years and has been a strong leader not only for his statewide association but for the national field as well.  The knowledge and strategic vision that Rob has brought to the field will be greatly missed.

My trip also gave me an opportunity to reconnect with Grand Haven, the town I was born in 61 years ago.  While I get the chance to visit periodically, my family moved away from Grand Haven in 1960.  There remains, however, something magical and inspiring about visiting the place of your birth.

It made me realize, on a very personal level, the importance of community foundations.  All of us are born somewhere, and our ties to the place of our birth never disappear.  We may travel the world, see lots of wonderful destinations and meet fascinating people, but the bond we have with the city of our birth is unique, strong and everlasting.

Today, virtually every hometown community in America is served by a community foundation.  Think of the positive impact we could have if we all gave a little something back to the community foundation that serves the place of our birth – so that it can remain a magical and inspiring place forever.

I am reminded of a quote from a T.S. Eliot poem:

We shall not cease from exploration,

and the end of all our exploring

will be to arrive where we started

and know the place

for the first time.