Leadership Academy: Social Services
Week five of Leadership Academy brought us to Old Second Bank in Aurora where we were introduced to Vicki Morcos, President & CEO, of The Dunham Foundation and Julie Christman, President & CEO, of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (CFFRV). Being new to the nonprofit sector at a community that has received support from both foundations, I was elated to see Vicki and Julies name on the Leadership Academy roster! During this humbling session, we learned about the differences between each foundation and how both have worked and continue to work together for the greater good of our community. The Dunham Foundation was established in 1996 to honor John Dunham’s love of education and his life and career as an entrepreneur, manufacturer, and mentor. The foundation strives to honor his vision for building a healthy, thriving community and to “make the world a more comfortable, safer place for mankind to live and prosper.” The Dunham Foundation seeks grant applications from nonprofits whose work aligns with the Foundation’s mission. Since the first grants were awarded in 2007, the Dunham Foundation has provided community nonprofits with over $53.5 million dollars of support. The mission of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley (CFFRV) is to “provide effective and rewarding ways for donors to fulfill their philanthropic objectives.” Since 1948, the CFFRV has awarded $121.6 million in total bequests and lifetime gifts. Within that number, more than $20 million in scholarships alone have been awarded uplifting youth and non-traditional students. They also support the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program which exposes students from twelve high schools to the grantmaking process and supports numerous community service projects. Both Vicki and Julie similarly embrace the leadership principles and practices of servant leadership. They allow their staff to utilize their talents without micromanagement under a trust-based philanthropy, value their team members and celebrate the individual successes that each member brings to the table while maintaining an open communication process. Julie said it best with “leading by love.” We are very fortunate to have the Dunham Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley amongst many other organizations throughout the area that continue to provide support for nonprofits. Foundations such as the Dunham Foundation and CFFRV are invaluable assets to the community and the lifeblood of nonprofit support in critical times. **And if you already haven’t done so, make sure to support the Dunham Foundation and CFFRV in future endeavors by filling out a quick Community Needs Assessment by visiting https://tinyurl.com/2us6hpvn
Jen Stark is the Community Liaison for Plum Landing Retirement Community, a nonprofit independent living that has served the Fox River Valley for over 60 years. With over ten years of experience in senior living, she is responsible for community outreach and integration efforts that are mutually beneficial for the residents of Plum Landing and partners.