Reflection on the 2020 Connect Community Foundations Virtual Conference
by Tam Elerding, HCCEF Program Director
I have attended many Connect Conferences, and I thoroughly enjoyed this conference as much as the in-person gatherings in the past. I am the Program Director for the Hardin County Community Endowment Foundation which is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. This year I attended all sessions except the Finance Peer-Learning Circle and found that each session offered me something to consider doing at our foundation or thinking about ways we can consider doing things differently in the future.
From Susan Howlett’s session on board development and leadership I now have displayed on my computer takeaways from her session: Fundraising – Grantmaking – Community Leadership. I think I will make this part of our board agenda – just to remind board members we are more than a grant reading board. I also hope to be able to incorporate some of the trust-based philanthropy ideas generated from that session. I think as we have new board members, these concepts will begin to take hold.
I also liked “attending” the Peer Learning Circles. These sessions provided an opportunity to learn from others and exchange ideas on a specific area of community foundation work. It worked really well for small groups (using breakout rooms). I felt like this was so much better than moving from table to table in a conference room. A couple of concepts I liked that were shared by another affiliate of high impact grantmaking and also participating in or funding some county visioning to make sure we are being effective with our grantmaking and meeting needs in our area. And also the idea of moving grants from transactional to transformational!
I enjoyed the Connect Virtual Conference this year and actually liked the Zoom meetings. I do miss seeing everyone in person but this method worked very well. This conference really got me fired up! I’m going to start working on my ideas to implement soon!