If you would have asked me in 1993 what I would be doing in 2018, my young, barely a teenager self would have probably said something about building stronger West Virginia communities. I would have never imagined working at Philanthropy West Virginia, which happened to be founded that same year. Now 25 years later, and thanks to YOU, our members, partners, and citizens of this great state, we are implementing Philanthropy West Virginia’s vision of “thriving communities due in part to a strong and vibrant philanthropic sector” and doing incredible work together.
Did I mention I get to have one of the BEST jobs in West Virginia working alongside committed, involved, collaborative, and results-oriented leaders, foundations, companies, and communities? As we close out our 25thAnniversary year and kick off 2019, I would like to share with you our Top Ten Lessons Learned & Celebrated to heighten our work ahead in 2019 and the next 25 years. Here are the first five of the Top 10:
10. Building a Strong Leadership Philanthropy Association in the Mountain State, especially in Appalachia, requires a great amount of Persistence, Partnerships, and Patience. Thanks to our founders in 1993, our 60 plus board members over the past 25 years, our hardworking staff over the past 15 years, and many partners has made Philanthropy WV a stronger, more effective, and pro-active organization. Your continued involvement is key to our next 25 years!
9. Creating Mutually Beneficial Partnerships results in long-term successes and sustainability for all involved. In an always competitive world, we build mutually beneficial partnerships between our members, peer Philanthropy Serving Organizations, local-regional-state-national partners, national/regional foundations, and others focused on bettering communities. A rising tide truly does raise all ships!#BetterTogetherWV
8. Establishing Foundation Openness improves communication and problem-solving opportunities that benefit our communities and statewide partnerships. Thanks to the support from United Philanthropy Forum & The Fund for Shared Insight, we have been able to better model and establish collaborations through foundation openness, as well as advance best practices among philanthropy, nonprofits, businesses, and the public. When we are connected using best practices, we can work better together in good and challenging times (as we have seen since the 2016 WV flooding).
7. Tackling Our Challenges among Members requires Meaningful Action.We know that West Virginia and Appalachian has many challenges, but when philanthropy learns and creates working models together with meaningful action this can leverage greater results for all citizens. During the past two years, Philanthropy WV has been fortunate to bring members together with issue experts and community leaders to find Entry Pointsand address our greatest challenges such as: community economic development, the opioid use disorder crisis, improving education for all ages, nonprofit strengthening, and much more. Our thanks to our members who invest time, talent and treasure in this work as it accelerates results and impact.
6. Celebrating & Sharing West Virginia’s Spirt of Philanthropy showcases our BEST stories. Our WV Spirt of Philanthropy Awards with Six Honorees in 2018 shines the light on tremendous programs, partnerships, individuals, organizations, communities, and businesses who are improving our state that inspires others. Congratulations again to our 2018 honorees: Dr. Usha Vasan, William “Pat” Getty, Kim Barber Tieman, Mimi Wilson, Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley’s Amazing Raise Program, and Parkersburg Area Community Foundation’s GiveLocalMOV Program. Sharing these stories and positive impact more broadly results in creating the narrative that West Virginia, our citizens, and philanthropy deserves and desires!
Next time, I’ll share the top 5 Lessons Learned & Celebrated heightening our next 25 years!