Building social capital

May 4, 2015

The State of the Richland County Foundation by President Brady Groves during the 2015 annual meeting.

In a letter to the Committee Chairman: “Dear Sir, It is desirable, as well as good practice, to remind people from time to time of the Richland County Foundation and the work it is doing and can do…”

The letter was penned by Secretary-Treasurer Norman A Wolf and addressed to committee chairman Harold Osmond, March 8, 1951.

Heeding Mr. Osmond’s advice, I share with you the work done by the Foundation in 2014.

A community foundation essentially has three functions:

  1. It is a vehicle to fulfill the philanthropic wishes of individuals, corporations and agencies.
  2. It is a grant maker.
  3. And a community foundation, as an independent entity, is a community leader that addresses difficult issues and advocates for programs, services and policies.

The new era of community foundation leadership has donors and foundation boards forging solutions. In order for the strategies to be successful, the Foundation must create social capital within our community. Think of social capital as the glue which facilitates cooperation, exchange and innovation.

In his book “Bowling Alone” author Robert Putnam summarizes a large body of empirical science documenting communities with the highest level of social capital have better physical and mental health, stronger economies and better systems for educating and caring for youth.

Social capital is a strong independent factor in explaining which communities struggle and which communities thrive.

The Foundation awarded over $4.2 million grants in 2014. The annual report details the areas impacted by our fund holders, agencies and board through its unrestricted grant making.

Chaired by Duffy Carto, the Finance Committee, with the help of financial consultant Hartland, managed a growing asset pool of $140 million. Making investment and spending decisions for 328 funds that will ensure a lifetime of grant making. Thank you Duffy and the Finance Committee.

Chaired by Sam VanCura the 2014 audit performed by Riester, Lump and Burton received another unqualified financial audit. We are very appreciative of Vice President of Finance Bob Barrett and RLB for the work they do in managing the finances of the Foundation.

And finally, our most visible example of acting as a change agent is the board’s decision to move its office to 181 South Main Street. Thanks to a generous donor with an affinity for historic buildings, the Foundation made a permanent investment to improve the southern entrance to Mansfield.

The new home of the Foundation gives credence to our motto:

For Good. For Ever.

 

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