Co-Founder and Director of the Entrepreneurial Communities solution area CENTER FOR RURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Co-Founder and Director of
the Entrepreneurial Communities solution area
Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

Q: As a consultant, what impressions did you gain about the work of CFGD staff members as they implemented philanthropic tools in five self-determined communities?

A: My engagement was limited but I really learned and benefitted from this experience. I found the Foundation’s team very passionate and engaged. There is a deep commitment to the communities and their leaders. The Foundation’s team and local leaders were most receptive to our technical assistance. This was not passive engagement but active engagement where both the Foundation and the communities were working hard to find the right fit. We love clients who engage so actively cross-walking our assistance with their needs and preferences.

Q: Looking at the project from afar, what were the challenges and opportunities that might be common to other rural communities, and how are community foundations meeting those?

A: Every rural community is unique but has the same development capacity challenges and opportunities. There were no major surprises. What we consistently find is that 80% of what we encounter is common to every community and that the 20% that is unique requires careful listening and understanding so that engagement processes and solutions are customized to fit.

Community foundations are uniquely positioned to be development gateways and partners with both urban and rural communities in their service territories. The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque is a leader in my opinion nationally among rural Community Foundations with respect to its commitment to community building and its engagement approach.