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Phase Two of Strategic Planning: Curiosity

from Kelly Dunkin and Community First Foundation

February marks one year since I joined Community First Foundation and it has certainly been an exciting time. The first part of the year became a discovery process, during which I spent a lot of time connecting with members of our community. Listening is the heart of service and I am so grateful for all the donors, grantees, staff and community members that shared their stories with me. This time spent in community has helped me understand what we do well, where we can improve and how the world is changing around us. I am inspired by the great work of those who have come before me and I realize, all the more urgently because of this success, that we must guard ourselves against complacency.

It is essential that philanthropy evolves to meet the needs of those it serves, and as an organization we are no different. We must be willing to look at ourselves and ask whether or not what we’re doing still makes sense.

That philosophy of questioning set us on course to reexamine our strategic plan and ask ourselves if we have the right framework to move forward. So far, we have identified a great partner to serve as our process architect and have created a core team of staff and board members to lead the strategic planning. We conducted an exhaustive look-back at the history of the foundation and took the time to celebrate our amazing accomplishments over the years.

Now we are entering phase two of strategic planning. This is when we begin to analyze the funding landscape, our community’s strengths and needs and our own identity within that space. During this stage we discover not just who we want to be, but who we need to be. We apply the feedback we have heard from grantees, donors and members of our community and explore a number of potential strategic pathways.

I want to recognize that this process creates ambiguity. We are living in the space between who we were and who we are becoming. Our donors, grantees and communities are living in that space with us. But within that ambiguity lies the potential to become something better than we had previously imagined for ourselves. As we embrace the possibilities, we can turn our fear of ambiguity into curiosity for what the future holds.

Join me in choosing curiosity. 

I welcome your participation in this process. I am in service to you, so please email me directly with any concerns, questions or pieces of inspiration. Looking ahead, our next update will include our renewed purpose, mission and vision.

from Kelly Dunkin and Community First Foundation

Kelly Dunkin
President and CEO
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