Connecting private resources to community programs that change lives
The Community Foundation has helped a private family foundation invest more than $450,000 in philanthropic support in local programs that seek creative and collaborative solutions to improve people’s lives.
For more than 15 years, the RNR Foundation has sought the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation’s guidance to help identify projects that fit with the private family foundation’s goals.
Local resident Richard Lord is one of four siblings who co-manage his family’s foundation. He observes: “Working with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has been a long-term win-win relationship. They have helped us focus our energy and philanthropic support on projects that fit with our foundation’s overriding objective – to improve the quality of life in our community, particularly for the underserved. They have been especially helpful in identifying innovative solutions to address emerging community issues, as in the case with our early investments to support the Blueprint for Aging.”
Launched in 2007 with funding from RNR, AAACF, and the James A. and Faith Knight Foundation, the Business Side of Youth (B-side) has trained nearly 500 teens in Washtenaw County to think entrepreneurially and chart their own professional path toward a promising future.
Working collaboratively, RNR views its philanthropic investments in the community as being interconnected. He shares: “In all the things we do, RNR seeks to invest in and support new collaborative approaches that support long-term change. I really believe one of the best things we can do is to collaborate with others to get the most out of our philanthropic investments in community solutions. Our partnership with the Community Foundation has allowed us to do that most effectively.”
RNR provided the initial funding to support the Blueprint for Aging - a community-wide collaborative of nonprofits businesses and public agencies working to improve the quality of life for seniors in Washtenaw County.
As Lord notes, “The Community Foundation plays a valuable role in sharing its connections throughout our community. They understand our community’s needs and serve as an honest broker and neutral ambassador. They have been very effective in bringing groups of people together who might otherwise not have the opportunity to work together toward a shared solution.”
Applying and sharing valuable lessons learned is yet another benefit of RNR’s partnership with AAACF. “Ann Arbor is a very connected community,” Lord notes, “and we’re very lucky to have an innovative nonprofit sector that keeps us informed and develops best practices that we can share with other communities where RNR has a presence.”