Coming from a nonprofit consulting background, perhaps I should have anticipated the breadth of responsibilities that would need attention in the first three years of being a brand-new foundation. I, along with the Foundation had to grow into that role.
When starting a business or a Foundation there are logistics to consider such as security, accounting, legal, compliance, and hiring staff. Then there is the business of communications, branding, and creating an online presence. With a Foundation, there are also grantee relationships, community and board relations and ultimately who we – the Arthur Dean Family Foundation – are going to be. Who we are going to be and how we are going to get there are the big questions that we have had the honor to grow into these past three years.
Creating a community asset and a family legacy requires vision and focus that initially outpaces capacity. Our vision is to do philanthropy differently. We have more ideas, plans, and “want to-do’s” than we have time and the current staff capacity to accomplish. Thus, we have recently adopted the motto of “baby steps”.
As the Arthur Dean Family Foundation develops and evolves, we hope to grow into the vision we have created as we believe all youth should have access to opportunities, experiences, and relationships that allow them to discover who they are, develop the abilities needed to shape their own lives, and learn how to engage with and contribute to the world around them. We are working to create a valuable community resource that our family, and board, will be proud of and that will outlive all of us.