Last week the Brunswick County Community Foundation convened a group of local leaders to discuss philanthropy and collaboration.  Such a meeting might not sound that unusual – after all, people get together all the time to discuss community needs, but the folks around the table represented homeowner groups and neighborhood service clubs, not traditional nonprofit organizations.

 Residents in many Brunswick County neighborhoods often come together to raise money for local causes, and some of these homeowners have even taken the extra step of establishing their own 501(c)3 charities to take advantage of the organizational and tax advantages of this status.

 Two Brunswick County Community Foundation board members, President Karen Anderson and Mike Gildea, have been closely involved with two of these organizations.  Karen is a past president and a current member of the St. James Service Club, Inc., and Mike is a founding member of the Ocean Ridge Charities Association. 

Both of these groups have been quite successful in raising money and recruiting volunteers for a number of nonprofits in Brunswick County, and their members recently witnessed the power of collective philanthropy as similar groups, as well as individuals, families and local businesses from  all over the county donated more than $3 million for the area’s first hospice facility.

With Mike and Karen’s leadership, the Brunswick County Community Foundation board took advantage of this energy and invited representatives from a number of local neighborhoods to discuss ways they might collaborate to have an even bigger impact in their communities. 

Much to our delight, a member of every neighborhood group they contacted sent at least one representative, and the excitement and enthusiasm for this effort grew during the meeting as participants traded ideas for building their organizations and discovering areas of collaboration.  

Convening the interest groups, fostering collaboration and serving as a catalyst to new approaches to local philanthropy - the Brunswick County Community Foundation makes community leadership look easy.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!  

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