Community Foundation Grantee Workshop Introduces New Measurement Tools
More than 125 representatives from local nonprofit organizations attended a January 17 Grantee Workshop hosted by Fremont Area Community Foundation. Presenters included staff and trustees from the Community Foundation as well as representatives from The Right Place and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University.
In the opening session, attendees were introduced to a regional tool that tracks progress on critical economic, environmental, and social outcomes. David Riley from The Right Place presented the West Michigan Regional Dashboard, which includes more than 30 indicators to measure West Michigan’s growth and development.
“We believe this dashboard is a vital tool to measure the health and wealth of our communities,” said Riley.
The Community Foundation worked with The Right Place to develop a similar tool for local use. The Newaygo County Area Dashboard will track similar indicators specific to Newaygo County. Indicators include items such as labor force participation rate, third grade reading level, and high school graduation rate.
“The dashboard provides data to help us track our progress,” said Lola Harmon-Ramsey, Community Foundation trustee. “Instead of reinventing the wheel, we asked The Right Place to highlight measures we are already using in our grantmaking. This will give the Community Foundation a much better sense of how we are moving on our goals and strategies for Newaygo County. Grant proposals that track similar outputs and outcomes will be more competitive.”
A second general session gave an overview of the Community Foundation’s grantmaking process and online system. Staff also explained new policies.
A new core capacity and financial health assessment tool was also shared. Developed in partnership with the Johnson Center, the assessment will give the Community Foundation a deeper understanding of an organization’s internal systems and financial position. It will also inform about the current collective status of local organizations and may identify topics for future training opportunities or technical assistance.
Breakout sessions introduced grantees to updated grant guidelines for each focus area—community and economic development, education, and poverty to prosperity—and to the committee members who review grants in each area.
“We’re so grateful to all of our community partners who attended the workshop,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “This was a great opportunity to gather together and talk about the ways we can collaborate for the greatest possible impact. These new tools will provide a clearer picture of how our collective work is making the quality of life in Newaygo County even better.”
To view the Newaygo County Area Dashboard, visit ncdashboard.org. For more information on the Community Foundation’s grantmaking and updated grant guidelines, visit facommunityfoundation.org/grants.