There are few parts of my job I love more than the opportunity to get out of the office and into the field to visit our affiliate boards across the state.

I recently spent time in Moore County with our regional director for the Sandhills, Dawn Neighbors, and my communications and marketing team. Our local affiliate, the Moore County Community Foundation, was awarding nearly $100,000 in local grants to nonprofit organizations meeting vital needs.

Amidst a sunny morning spent snapping photos from the beautiful Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, an unexpected situation stuck out for me.

When we arrived, we found a mix-up that can be an event planner’s nightmare: the room wasn’t ready and the attendees weren’t able to get in the building.

It’s how a room full of local nonprofit leaders and affiliate board members reacted in this unexpected moment that caught my attention.

Rather than exhibiting any sense of frustration or bewilderment at the inconvenience caused by miscommunication, everyone simply acted to solve the problem at hand.

Someone found an open door. Then nonprofit executive directors assembled the chairs, even forming a human chain to expedite the process. Board members set up the podium that was found in a storage closet somewhere. Staff members arranged the chairs to form an aisle.

Every person in the room just tried to help.

It may seem trivial, but I think it’s these moments that matter.

The community saw a need, and without hesitation, came together to solve it.

It’s these small moments that truly remind us what local philanthropy and community foundations are all about: it’s the community coming together and pitching in.

So often we can all get caught up in the latest trend, breaking news or headline-making situation. But at the end of the day, real change in North Carolina’s communities truly starts at the grassroots level.

There’s a million and one theories about what it takes to change the world. I think it might just start with a group of committed community leaders coming together in a room and being willing to carry their own chair.

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