National Community Foundation Week: 45 years of impact in MidlandNovember 18th, 2018
Just two years ago, a young woman in her senior year at Dow High School was fairly certain a college education was not an option for her. As intelligent and driven as she was, her family simply did not have the financial means to help cover the cost. Yet as her peers began receiving acceptance letters and talking excitedly about their college plans, she decided she didn’t want to miss out.
An online search led her to the Midland Area Community Foundation website, where she learned of several scholarships available. She worked hard on an essay explaining why she was deserving of a scholarship, and was ultimately selected to receive the Midland Believes Scholarship, an award for first-generation students or those from economically disadvantaged families. The scholarship will cover a significant portion of her four-year degree. Now a sophomore at a local university, she is actively involved in athletics and several student clubs, and credits the donors who helped establish the Midland Believes scholarship for helping her obtain her dream of a college degree.
This story – along with countless others like it – demonstrates the importance of community foundations in this country, which are uniquely situated to improve their regions through supporting solutions to problems and creating powerful partnerships. From November 12 to 18, we celebrate Community Foundation Week, a time when we can share and reflect on the stories of impact over the last year. Though you may not yet know your local community foundation, you’ve likely felt its impact.
That’s because the Midland Area Community Foundation and the more than 795 other community foundations across the country help to bring donors and residents together. Community foundations work to support the efforts that will help the places we call home continue to flourish and grow.
On October 2, 1973, twenty-five Midland leaders and volunteers came together to establish a community foundation. The idea was to allow people to join together and establish a public foundation. Described as “by the people, for the people”, the stated purpose was to improve the quality of life in Midland. For the past 45 years, the Midland Area Community Foundation has been doing just that.
The Midland Area Community Foundation grew out of a basic human desire to positively impact the world, knowing that change starts by changing where we live. It grew out of the belief that individuals can change the community through their giving.
Your community foundation is a leader and a convener, focusing on improving the quality of life for everyone. Through leadership, collaboration, and a legacy of giving, the foundation continues to enrich lives and make Midland an even better place to live. Some examples include projects like Riverdays and Midland’s Santa House, our scholarship program, millions of dollars in grants to local nonprofits each year, and bringing together stakeholders on projects like community health, public art, violence prevention, and cultural awareness.
As we enter the giving season, millions of people from every background will be looking to give back to the communities that have supported them. They’ll also look to ensure that their heartfelt giving – however they choose to give – will have the most impact. That’s why so many of them will choose to give to a community foundation.
A gift to your local community foundation is an investment in the future of your community. We like to say that community foundations are “here for good.” At the Midland Area Community Foundation, we don’t think about the next election or business cycle, we think about the next generation and the next after that.
That can seem a daunting task, but it’s one that we all share. During Community Foundation Week, I hope you’ll join us in recognizing our collective impact and the difference we can make together.