by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
I have been glued to the television each night watching the summer games. Nothing seems more satisfying than sitting on my couch with a bowl of ice cream watching athletes compete. My favorite summer sports are cycling, canoeing and of course swimming. Honestly, I think part of my fascination might be that I am so intrigued by the way bathing suits have changed since I was a competitive swimmer in high school. I can’t stop staring. The red markings on the backs from “cupping” are certainly interesting, but really the competiveness of swimming has got me hooked. I have cheered on female swimmers with their willingness to be upfront and unashamed about their own competitive nature.
I have written about this before, but I will admit that I am pretty competitive, mostly with myself but every so often with other people. Some of the time being competitive with others is really not productive (for example in yoga class), but there are times when competition is a good thing. When I first joined the NCCF in 2006, one of the things a colleague told me always stuck with me. She said community foundations really do not compete with each other. … What? How could that be? This was from a very competitive person, so I actually think she was trying to use reverse psychology on me, but that is a different story. To her credit, I did hear this repeated several other times from other community foundations. So which is it? Do community foundations compete with each other? The answer is both yes and no.
We actually are a very strong network of community foundations here in North Carolina – and work together often. We know that those community foundations who have achieved national standards are among the highest functioning organizations in the country and folks will be well served. We also thrive on being creative, connected and relevant, and are both supported and challenged by our colleagues to do more.
One of the things I am particularly proud of is our collaborative work with an organization that in the past was perceived by others to be our competitor.
I am proud of the work we do at the NCCF, and we work hard to attract and keep our donors. We work hard to build relationships and to always improve on how we provide service. At heart, I may be competitive, but our work is not. You, as a donor, have choices about where you put your philanthropic resources, and we are competitive enough to strive for that to be us.