Carrie Pickett-Erway

In a recent TED Talk, Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist, described "grit" as the most important predictor of success. She defines grit as the ability to continue working hard, on really big goals, for extended periods of time. We know about grit at the Community Foundation.

This is our 90th year and we’re proud to be one of the nation’s oldest and most accomplished community foundations, ranking ninth in assets per capita and having the highest investment return of community foundations for the seven-year period ended December 2014.

We’re not an organization that stands still. We’ve changed with the community and its needs. In addition to our traditional grantmaking, we’ve increased our efforts at convening community partners working on similar issues, and bringing our grantees together to learn from each other after their projects are completed. We also have increased our efforts to work collaboratively around community data, and to help find new solutions to old challenges, particularly with The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo, which focuses on educational outcomes.

We want to be a community leadership organization focused on equity. We engage in long-term work on the toughest issues, with the community at the center of our efforts. With your help last summer, we developed our new vision statement which embraces this philosophy: a community where every person can reach full potential. This vision is our "north star" in how we will make life better for all.

Guiding us in this work is our strategic plan for 2015 and 2016, which was built on three key areas: equity, education and engagement.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of this important work.