In the Community
What We DID NOT DoJanuary 14, 2010
In looking back over this past year and a half, and the devastating impact of the “new” economy, in many ways I am just as proud of the things the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry DID NOT DO, as I am proud of the things we DID DO.
- Unlike some foundations, we DID NOT suspend grantmaking. While it might have been tempting to do so to preserve the corpus of our major grantmaking funds, we knew that our local nonprofits were also suffering and badly needed the assistance.
- Unlike some foundations, we DID NOT go into fund raising mode to develop new dollars for basic needs. That would have put us in direct competition for dollars with the United Way and other of our sister nonprofits that are already attempting to provide for basic needs.
- Unlike some foundations, we DID NOT reduce the spending rate on our endowments. For the nonprofits supported by some of these endowments, the result would have been painful. Again, to preserve corpus, we suggested that nonprofits not request the full spendable amount if it was unneeded, but we left the option up to them.
- Unlike some foundations, we DID NOT raise administrative fees on funds under management. Our own operating funds took a tremendous hit in this economic environment. The fee revenue is crucial to our existence. But again, keeping the funds under management as whole as possible was a priority. We slashed our own budget, and fastened our seatbelts.
- Unlike some foundations, we DID NOT lay off staff, though we DID NOT replace some that left. The team here is of critical importance, and every person has high value to the operations. Those who remained took on the extra work load, worked longer hours, and worked more efficiently.
- Unlike some foundations, we DID NOT furlough staff or cut wages, though we did freeze them. To ask staff members to take on the additional work of those who were not being replaced, to work longer hours and accomplish more, and also cut their wages would have been a sad state of affairs. I’m proud that we were able to manage operations in such a way that staff wages were preserved.
- Unlike some foundations, we DID NOT dip deeply into our reserves. We felt strongly that we needed to operate with as balanced a budget as possible.
Fortunately, our board of trustees, our staff, and our former trustees stepped up and contributed operating dollars that assisted us through this difficult time. That helped us to accomplish all the DID NOTs on our list. What a caring, generous, and understanding group of people! They believe in the importance of the mission of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, and its desire to make every day (of our operations) matter.
Denise K. Spencer