by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
Several of us formed a caravan and headed to Rocky Mount recently for our third annual Pop-Up Philanthropy event. Rescheduled from last year due to Hurricane Matthew, we were really excited to spend some time with our local affiliates, fundholders, grantees and leaders.
We spend a lot of time in our communities, meeting with our affiliate boards, talking with fundholders and collaborating with grantseekers and other funders on how we can work together to leverage our resources. Pop-Up is just another way to take what we do on the road, to meet our communities up close and to learn how we can work together to build a stronger North Carolina.
We co-hosted this year’s event with the Edgecombe Charitable Foundation and the Futrell-Mauldin Community Foundation for Greater Rocky Mount. We were so fortunate to have a good showing from these boards, our Raleigh team, our local regional director serving that area and one of our statewide board members – all there to talk with and listen to nearly 70 local community leaders.
We left inspired. Inspired by the people and organizations that imagine and work toward ways our community can be different. Inspired by the spirt of collaboration, the willingness to support one another and by hope.
We met folks who not only had ideas about ways to strengthen their communities but were also implementing their ideas, spreading the word and carrying on their good work: from coaches who talked about the kids they mentored and what they were accomplishing through sports; to a young man who had a vision about working with autistic youth; to leaders who were offering art and music, innovative substance abuse treatment and a documentary film project about the community. The list of ideas turned to action could go on.
We designed Pop-Up to show how our resources and local leadership can partner to make stronger communities, and in turn, a stronger state.
What I always come back with is a renewed sense of hope. There is power in community.