Refreshed, Challenged, and Ready to Rock & Roll

By Sherry Ristau, President & CEO

As I write this blog post, I am just returning from the National Council on Foundations Annual Conference.

I always appreciate time with colleagues to be inspired, refreshed, and challenged. Being a leader in Philanthropy at a Foundation is a big responsibility, especially with a Community Foundation representing a region of donors. 

As I settle back in at my desk, I wanted to share some highlights from the past week. The Conference theme was Leading Together and provided some big reminders for me. I hope they resonate with you, as well:

“True collaborative thinking transcends the individual person or institution."
Vikki Spruill, President & CEO, Council on Foundations

"One does not merely lead from the top. One must lead from among."
Cornell Brooks, President & CEONAACP

"The key to being a great collaborative innovator is giving credit instead of taking credit."
Walter Isaacson, President & CEO, The Aspen Institute

Walter also compared philanthropy with rivers and the importance of what we put back in the river for future generations.
I of course thought about our regional community, the Mississippi River, and the Community Foundation. Are we giving back what we have taken out of our Great River Bend community?

The conference concluded with two national leaders and CNN Crossfire Hosts, Speaker Newt Gingrich and Van Jones, who shared their experiences working together across differences to challenge our thinking around alliances and partnership for a greater good.  Their dialogue was nothing short of inspiration and hope for the future of possibilities.
They demonstrated that two differing sides can agree on important issues like children in poverty, and our criminal justice system. Leaders that are clearly opposite in their political views and more can cooperate, compromise, and care about each other to make a difference!
                                     Sherry with Newt Gingrich                             Sherry with Van Jones

These messages will stay with me as I aspire to provide passionate and visionary leadership at CFGRB.  We have unlimited possibilities in the Quad Cities region, and I invite you to join us on this journey.  Foundations have a role to play beyond “funder” to influence change, share ideas, connect people, and build bridges.

I will leave you with one final, thought-provoking quote from the Conference as we consider our regional vision and the emerging vision of the Community Foundation.

“Let’s master the virtue of humility ……. and lead together towards effective solutions.” 
Javier Soto, President & CEO, The Miami Foundation 

It will take leadership, humility, collaborative innovation, and positive selfless attitudes to achieve our collective regional vision for our community to be cool, creative, and prosperous!

Regional Vision Statement: 

“The Quad Cities region is recognized globally in 2030 for growing and attracting talent and businesses, is energized by a culturally rich community, inspires innovation, and embraces lifelong learning.”  

Cultivating a culturally rich community will help make the Quad Cities a COOL place to live.  Inspiring innovation in our region will drive us to be a CREATIVE community.  Embracing lifelong learning will set the stage for the Quad Cities to be PROSPEROUS. 

Quad Cities Regional Opportunity Council

“My ponderings about my nest egg, and the needs of Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. seemed like a match! And the Community Foundation is the matchmaker."

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Did You Know?

By 2020, the country will need 1.2 million more nurses to accommodate the aging population. The Quad Cities will need 50 new instructors to meet the needs of the local nursing students entering this field work. We are working together to fill these gaps.
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