Emerging from the spreadsheet haze

by Christopher Fipps

It’s this time of year when you find the grants department buzzing with excitement and anticipation of the new community grantmaking season as we wade through spreadsheets and work to prepare materials for the new year – hoping to do our best to help our affiliates all across the state with their annual grantmaking.

Somedays we may appear a bit rattled and may even look a little dazed as we work to find our way back out of the spreadsheet “haze” we find ourselves in trying to ensure all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed – or that the numbers add up (I was talking about spreadsheets, right?). All of the minute details that we work with, however, are well worth it, knowing that in very short order we will be receiving applications from charitable organizations across the state looking for support for all the good works they are doing in their communities. We see applications to support charitable causes across the board including those to help feed the hungry, support health care, education, cultural arts and the environment – to name only a few. Then, in the coming months we’ll start issuing grants to organizations that are recommended to receive awards by our local affiliates.

As all of this is coming together, I find myself reflecting on places I’ve either lived around the state or where I have family roots, and how these places are touched by the great work of these many charitable organizations serving our state. Many of these places are in our network of affiliates. I think about all of our local advisory boards in these communities volunteering their time raising local dollars to support their local public charities as well as reviewing grant applications and making the tough decisions around grant awards each year. Having grown up and lived most of my life in North Carolina, I am not necessarily surprised every year at the amount of need we see in grant applications. The need is great – we know that.  But also great is the generous spirit of North Carolinians and the hearts of those working tirelessly every day at the local level to make this state a better place for all of us.

It’s the inspiration I gain from the dedication of folks doing these good works that keeps me motivated and keeps me going – and ready to dive back into that spreadsheet haze!