It’s been a year since I came on board as the president of Legacy Fund, your community foundation serving Hamilton County. In that time, I have deeply immersed myself in the community to better understand the needs and opportunities, as well as assessing our current initiatives in Hamilton County.
I have spoken to mayors, superintendents, corporate CEOs and community leaders, and in partnership with CICF, implemented a neighborhood ambassador program to better understand the pulse of the community. Those conversations revealed a strong and highly-engaged community whose stakeholders are trying to understand its recent growth and planning for a prosperous future.
Our communities in Hamilton County no longer view themselves (and haven’t for quite some time) as commuter towns, and instead see themselves as economic growth centers. But with growth comes challenges—transportation, affordable housing and workforce training pathways to name a few.
We know that addressing these challenges will require community-wide partnerships and strategic investments. We also know that in order to do this work, we need to take a look at our internal practices and our role as the community foundation serving Hamilton County. One of my first initiatives as president of Legacy Fund was to commission an organizational assessment. The assessment identified:
- the need to better assess and understand the changing needs in Hamilton County
- the need to partner with donors throughout the county in regards to their philanthropic goals, and opportunities to co-invest in programs and initiatives
- the need to serve as a community convener, bringing together community organizations, leaders and residents to make a bigger impact
Legacy Fund, based on the above findings, is also working to redefine our mission, vision and values. We are working with community leaders and board members to create a new strategic plan that will guide our work in Hamilton County for the next three to five years. Legacy Fund stands ready to connect and convene on these issues. While the list of needs may seem quite long, the themes we heard from the community were clear: How do we empower all residents of Hamilton County, and continue to create access to the various systems and institutions throughout our communities. We are excited to embark on this journey, and will promise an effective and efficient process.
We’ve also been exploring the viability of a space in Hamilton County to convene, incubate and innovate the local not-for-profit community. We know that the ability of not-for-profits to provide quality, affordable services depends on their ability to develop and maintain crucial infrastructure resources. More than just offices, incubator space can become sustainable centers that help not-for-profit organizations strengthen their communities and foster partnerships between donors, organizations and civic leaders.
A not-for-profit incubator space in Hamilton County would allow donors, organizations and civic leaders to come together and realize economic benefits, operational efficiencies and collaborative potential. Legacy Fund strongly believes this innovative concept would allow the local not-for-profit community to break down silos and cooperate on a new level.
I am excited about what the future holds for Legacy Fund and our growing role in the community. This process will allow Legacy Fund to better understand the needs of our community and help us communicate those needs with our donors, community leaders and other constituents throughout Hamilton County. Please stay tuned as I continue writing about this process and the solutions we’re partnering on to make Hamilton County a better place for everyone to call home.