Last month in Springfield, representatives of philanthropic, charitable, technological and governmental groups from around the country and here at home, gathered to share stories and ideas of how collaborative philanthropy has and can, transform communities.
“I would say collaboration means, bringing people together to achieve forward thinking, common good, and measureable outcomes,” says Jenna Manders, from The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.
“A basic definition (of collaboration) is you get a lot of people and entities around the table. You brainstorm and share ideas, and then you say, How Are You Going To Get This Done?, and then you develop a plan,” says Springfield Missouri Mayor, Ken McClure.
“It’s oversimplification, but truly, collaboration is working together,” says former Springfield Chamber of Commerce President, Jim Anderson. “And by working together, certainly we’re stronger and can accomplish much more. But working together happens after you build trust, you build relationships, you build confidence."
“I think collaboration is making sure the right folks are at the table, and they each bring a strength to that conversation, that partnership. Once that’s done, I think whatever the effort is, it becomes that much stronger and healthier,” said Samuel Knox, Executive Director of Minorities in Business, based in Springfield.
“An old adage is, charity is reactive, philanthropy is proactive,” says Community Foundation of the Ozarks President, Brian Fogle. “We need charity. Charity is very reactive, as you give because of your generosity with no expectation of something in return. We’re a very charitable community here, and we are right in the cusp of the top quartile in counties across the country in giving per-capita of gross income, but that’s more traditional charity,” he says.
“Philanthropy is more of a reciprocity,” says Brian Fogle. “You give but you want something in return. That could be a better community, or an investment of time and energy by the partner you’re participating with. So what we wanted to talk about is how we could think more broadly about philanthropy. It’s what were are funding, versus what we could fund, and that was the difference of the Philanthropy Summit. We wanted to talk about what we could do proactively for our community, and what are those transformational things we could do, that could change the direction of our community by working together, versus the more traditional charity we’ve been doing,” said Brian Fogle.
Phil Lakin, President and CEO of the Tulsa Community Foundation, who also serves on the Tulsa City Council, presented a program on Philanthropy for Public Places and the importance of Public-Private Collaboration, “We know we need each other,” said Lakin. “There are public-private partnerships that greatly advanced the city of Tulsa. From building the first bridge across the Arkansas River, to building the first privately funded park in the history of the United States. The Tulsa Community Foundation didn’t do that in isolation of City Government. We absolutely needed City Government to infrastructure and road work, and the City needed us to develop a place where all people could get together and gather, and participate in recreational activities, and become a community again,” said Phil Lakin.
Jenna Manders, from The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, delivered remarks on Philanthropic Leadership. “The benefits the private sector can have for public good, is really exemplified at this summit today,” Manders tells KSMU. “I would say a community cannot move forward, without collaboration. Not only are we at the table as a community foundation with philanthropy, but City Government has to be at the table, private sector businesses, faith based organizations too. We all have to be at the table collaborating, with all the same goals in mind. We might not agree on how to get to those goals, but hopefully the same end result is in sight, that way we can move forward as a community,” says Jenna Manders
“I think we pride ourselves as being a very collaborative city,” says United Way of the Ozarks President, Greg Burris. “I think any of the organizations in our community will tell you, they can’t do it alone. There’s no way the United Way can do it alone, there’s no way any organization can do it alone. We only can do things if we work together, and I think that’s the spirit of Springfield. It’s sort of, something in the water,” says Burris.
Greg Burris says the Philanthropy Summit is an impressive event. “This is great. We should do this every year. The speakers are wonderful, coming from all over the country. And I think it gives a fresh perspective, and if you watch the crowd, it’s sparking some ideas, and I think we will see things happening in our community in the next 12-18 months, that started right here,” Burris says.
“True philanthropy is building abundance, and looking at, If We All Work Together, The Pie Gets Bigger, there’s more abundance. I truly believe that,” says CFO President Brian Fogle. “We had inspiration, and ideas that came out of the Philanthropy Summit, thinking about, What Could We Be, not What Are We, but What Could We Be. And the real metal will be, what kind of Springfield we will have for our children, and our children’s children, and thinking about becoming something greater. Again, thinking, Not What We Are Now, But What Could We Be? And philanthropy has got to be a part of that,” says Brian Fogle.
The Philanthropy Summit, held 23 October, was hosted by The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, BKD Wealth Advisors, Guaranty Bank, and Carnahan Evans Cantwell & Brown P.C.
For more information, www.cfozarks.org