The word “leverage” is quite the buzz word in most business and not-for-profit sectors.  I looked it up and one definition of “leverage” is “the use of a small initial investment…to gain a very high return in relation to one’s investment…”


One reason “leverage” is such a buzz word in the community foundation field is that it is an integral part of all of our services.


One core service of the Morris Community Foundation is our services to donors.  We offer a variety of tools to help them minimize their tax burden and maximize their philanthropy.  By pooling contributions from donors, we leverage their small initial investment into a high return via our other two services, grants and community leadership.


The second core service of the Morris Community Foundation is partnering with fellow not-for-profits to initiate and/or expand programs to address issues of concerns in Grundy County.  By leveraging donor contributions with the knowledge, skills, talents, and expertise of area agencies, we make an impact in the quality of life in the county by giving grants to the agencies who can implement action.


The third core service of the Morris Community Foundation is our community convening and leadership.  It is a pleasure to host public meetings and events to bring our citizens together to talk about issues of concern.  Over the past three years we have addressed local control for public school funding, public health concerns, water supply, stormwater management, and open space.  Future topics for 2007 include transportation planning, “people in need,” and the continued growth of our county.  By bringing citizens together to talk and plan, we are leveraging the power of individual voices to be heard.


We believe we have a proven track record of leveraging a little to get a lot.  Therefore we ask you to give us a little of yourself so that we can leverage it into a higher return.  The coming year is going to be an exciting one for “Connecting the Visions,” which is our plan for using the CommunityWorks Endowment to fund projects to impact our county in the areas of early childhood care and education, workforce development, and land use and protection.


So what “little” things can you leverage? We have a number of projects coming up in all three areas that need people to work on them in a temporary, ad hoc manner – therefore we ask for your time.  In some cases, we need to draw upon your expertise to guide us in these projects – therefore we ask for your talent.  If you are short on time and talent, but believe in the power of the Foundation to make an impact, we ask for your contribution – therefore we ask for your year-end, tax deductible donations, no matter how small.