Where’s Wallace? (I am not a Peeping Tom)

When I was a child, I had a book called Where’s Wallace. You may have seen this book; mine was a first edition from my grandparents, and the inscription is dated 1966. I loved this book as a child, and if you are not personally familiar with Wallace, he is an orangutan. This sentence from the book sums up his sunny outlook: “Everyone loved Wallace and Wallace loved everyone.”  

Wallace escapes from the zoo because he wants to see the world. It is a great story, but the best part is that it features two-page spreads of pictures (called panoramas on the cover) where you, the reader, would search the scene to try and find wayward Wallace. 

My favorite two-page spread was of a fancy city apartment building that allowed the reader to look inside each apartment to see what was going on in an effort to locate Wallace (who incidentally was taking a shower). We see someone playing a piano, someone having a party, someone who is sick, someone painting their room and on and on.  

Early on I loved being able to see inside people’s homes. I admit that I still love to be able to catch a glimpse inside someone’s house, whether through invitation or attending open houses or simply by walking through my neighborhood at night. (Seriously, I think you know what I mean — and I am not a Peeping Tom, I promise!) It all comes down to being rather intrigued by what other people do and how they spend their time.    

Sometimes I wonder about what is happening: are people reading, painting, watching TV? Days may go by that I do not see my neighbors, but I know they are home and maybe a little about what they are doing. Are their lives incredibly interesting, and are they wonderfully productive?  Or are they simply binge-watching television shows?

I suspect we are all curious about what goes on behind the curtains in other places. So, with this in mind, I thought I would share with you some of the things that have been recently going on at the North Carolina Community Foundation.

A behind the scenes bullet list at NCCF includes:

Several recent meetings with our statewide board, including a full quarterly board meeting and executive, finance and affiliate impact committee meetings. This provided us all with opportunities to talk about progress, and more importantly about what is ahead, including decisions on our next fiscal year budget that begins April 1; our upcoming headquarters office move; investment returns; grants; and staff reports.

We also hosted a community college grant meeting in partnership with Duke Energy.

We were honored to convene a meeting with a family about their charitable giving — which included three generations and happily took up most of the chairs in our conference room. 

We developed a response to a request for proposal from an area nonprofit looking for partners to handle charitable investments.

We attended or hosted several meetings with individuals from nonprofit organizations about grantmaking, endowment growing and programming. I myself hosted several meetings in my own office where I showed off my standing desk fashioned out of cardboard boxes in an awkward attempt to locate funding to purchase standing desks for our new office space.

We accepted a staff resignation, which brought us a mixture of sadness, pride and excitement for the new opportunity.

I prepared for a number of speaking opportunities, which included the needs of rural North Carolina, how a community foundation works and my thoughts on leadership. If you peeked in my office windows, you would have seen me googling, reading, writing, looking through folders on my desk, and “running lines” with our communications specialist.

In other words, we have been productive. If you happened to see me gazing into space, I was not wasting time, but was thinking about everything we are doing now and have to do in the future. I cannot escape from the zoo, as it were, and wouldn’t want to if I could.