Last night was the 40th Anniversary Celebration of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. Part of a network of more than 700 community foundations nationwide, The Community Foundation is one of the largest of its kind in the USA and the largest funder of nonprofits in the greater Washington DC region. The org was started 40 years ago by leaders who wanted to ‘make community change through charitable giving easy, flexible, tax-smart, efficient and, above all, personal.’
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The evening was packed with music and performances from Levin Music, Joe’s Movement Emporium, an N Street Village resident, various spoken word performing artists and much more! I really enjoyed seeing Christylez Bacon perform again and the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company was a special treat for me.
Two favorite moments:
One of my favorite moments of the evening was during the Welcome. First, I’d never met the Community Foundation’s President, Terri Lee Freeman, but her 10-minute greeting made me want to support whatever work she’s engaged in. You know how you meet certain people and instantly can tell that they are captivating, have a strong love for others and can still get the job done? That’s how I feel about her. It must be true because the eavesdropping I did during the evening confirmed it; having others speak highly of you is hard work and a true sign of dedication. I’m still humbled to be around great people… or even regular people doing great work.
My second favorite moment, also during the Welcome, was when Martin Weinstein, Chair of the CF Board of Trustees, shared some of his personal story. He started by singling out his family and recognizing his two (of four) children, named after his parents and grandparents, that were in attendance. He said they were smart and unique in their own way, just like everyone else’s kids. Maybe I’m reaching, but it seemed to be foreshadowing of the good things they will do in the future and a way of saying “all of our children can be a part of greatness.” He then shared some of his family history and how he comes from a line of working-class people who didn’t let life’s obstacles keep them from doing the best they could for themselves and their children.
“I share that to say… we’re not the Rockafellers.” He added that they were just regular people who decided to make change in their community.
I think that’s the underlining angle of the Community Foundation and what the founders had in mind – regular people making change in their community. What does that mean? It means that no matter our circumstances or background … no matter the obstacles we face … we can still make great change in our own lives, in the lives of others and in communities near and far… if we just commit to it. What a lesson and great way to refocus on the vision of the organization’s founders.
Want to support the great work the The Community Foundation? Donate today!
Today, I’m thankful to still be humbled in the presence of regular people excited for continue change through giving.