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In Appreciation of the “Real Heroes”

Author: Chuck Colston

A few months ago, I attended an awards ceremony at the Dale Association. It was a great event with plenty of tasty desserts. The Foundation was among eight honorees recognized for their service to the community. While we were an award recipient; it underscores the fact that nonprofits are the “real heroes.” They do all of the hard work in helping individuals and families reach their full potential. I often say as a funder, we are two or more rings removed from the actual work. We strive to stay engaged and listen to the success and challenges that organizations deal with on a daily basis. Even with that said, we realize that the nonprofit sector is vital to any success that foundations can expect to have in creating lasting impact.

The Foundation was a co-recipient of the Chairman’s Award (along with the Western New York Foundation). In the acceptance speech, I mentioned that our approach goes much deeper than just writing a check and includes actively seeking partners that share similar priorities. In partnering with an organization, we want to maintain open communication and build trust that can be sustained over time. A true partnership is never one-sided; as each partner adds value. More specifically, nonprofits in the health and human services arena provide critical services to the community. We often find ourselves learning a great deal from nonprofits about their passion for the work and their deep connection to the people receiving services.

Overall, these partnerships play a large role in helping us strengthen our own internal and external processes. So as 2017 comes to an end, I want to share my appreciation for the tireless effort exhibited by nonprofits in making a difference in the lives of those who are underserved.