Executive Director’s Summary
I love the old quote, “be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble”. As I look back on 2011 “listening” seems to be at the heart of the year. We did a series of meetings in six communities in our service area entitled “Listening to the North Shore”. The meetings provided opportunity to engage stakeholders in the various communities by posing questions that revolved around what they saw as their community’s strengths, their challenges and their hopes for the future. We learned a lot through listening; and we are working to use those thoughts, ideas and dreams as a guide as we develop our plans for the future.
We also spent time listening to those involved with our scholarship program in Cook County. From the school to the college to current and past recipients of the award we listened to better understand what is working and what can be changed to further our impact in the area of education. I’m excited to say that from these conversations and with the leadership of the Foundations Board of Directors we will be starting a new education committee to strengthen our scholarship program for the future and explore new strategies and opportunities in education to inform and guide our grant making efforts.
As we move forward we want to stay attuned to the needs of the service area and take practical, concrete steps that will make a difference in addressing challenges as well as the many new opportunities for the future. Listening, to the many voices in our communities, is the first step in this on-going dialogue.