Jenna Manders, Community Foundation Services Coordinator Iowa Council of Foundations
For the past six years, I have looked forward to the Connect Community Foundations Conference to learn and connect with my peers. As I begin planning my first Connect Conference as the Community Foundation Services Coordinator with the Iowa Council of Foundations, I am reflecting on all that has been accomplished by community foundations in our state. When I first joined the community foundation field during the summer of 2009 as a youth philanthropy student, Iowa community foundations collectively had $370 million in assets. Now, 12 years later, that total is $1.66 billion and growing. We’ve learned so much in Iowa about endowment building and asset development and the Connect Conference is an annual opportunity to share successes with our peers and learn new skills and approaches to implement in our communities.
With your feedback in mind, we are taking a new approach to Connect – a series of virtual workshops throughout the year culminating with an in-person event in the fall. There will also be more opportunities for Peer Learning Circle conversations, opportunities to learn from others and exchange ideas on a specific area of community foundation work.
A primary goal of the Connect series is for you – our community foundation leaders and partners – to gain ideas you can implement to help grow your endowments and to make your grantmaking processes and strategies even stronger. I hope you will attend the conference sessions and feel equipped, inspired and energized:
- Equipped with tools, resources and new ideas to carry into your work.
- Inspired with creative marketing ideas to implement and new ideas on how to share donor stories.
- Energized to launch strategic changes among your staff, committees, leadership teams and collaborative community partnerships.
I always enjoyed the Connect Conference – an opportunity to learn, meet, and connect with so many of you. I miss seeing everyone in person and look forward to bringing everyone together again in September. I continue to be inspired by the group of leaders across our state that are committed to this work, improving the quality of life in our communities today and into the future.