Volunteers are critical components to any organization in the non-profit world. They provide many hours of assistance through the course of a year and help accomplish tasks that could not be completed without their assistance. This especially rings true at the Community Foundation. Unlike many other non-profits that rely on volunteer support, the Foundation is unique in that its means of existence rests almost entirely on the backs of volunteers.
The truth of the importance of CRCF volunteers lies, first and foremost, in the numbers. Nearly 200 individuals give their very valuable gift of time to the organization in some form during the year. Comparing that number with the six staff persons the Foundation employs, it is clear to see that only with volunteer support can the Foundation continue to operate.
Taking these numbers a step further, the tasks that these 200 volunteers accomplish are by no means menial. On the contrary, these volunteers are at the heart and soul of Foundation decision-making, largely through governance and grantmaking. Take governance for example. The Foundation Board of Directors consists of eleven volunteers who meet each month to discuss various issues important to the overall well-being of the community. As a result of these meetings, this group of volunteers ultimately makes decisions that have a direct impact on the greater community. Members of the Board of Directors also give their time on CRCF Committees, such as the Audit Committee, Marketing Committee, Investment Committee, Executive Committee, Budget Committee, and many, many others. So, in reality, these individuals often serve the Foundation on a weekly basis.
With a role that is no less important than the CRCF Board of Directors, the vast list of scholarship and grant committees are comprised entirely of volunteers. On each of these committees, the volunteers who sit on them do not just look at an application and decide who or what will be awarded. These committee volunteers spend weeks reviewing and researching application after application, often in their free time, so that they can make the most well-informed decisions as possible. These volunteers do not take their role lightly, and their diligence is why many great organizations and students are able to receive financial assistance each year. It simply would not be possible for the CRCF staff to review the thousands of grant and scholarship applications that are submitted each year, so these committee volunteers are nothing less than vital.
Finally, the staff receives administrative assistance from two special volunteers, often daily. Whether sorting through paperwork, crunching financial numbers, or compiling reports, these two administrative volunteers do the work that would get lost in the mix of all the other daily activities. Without their assistance, the Foundation staff would not have the time needed to plan events, meet with donors, or simply ensure smooth office operations every day.
With today marking the start of National Volunteer Week, the Foundation staff thanks all the CRCF volunteers who help make the mere existence of the Foundation possible. You have joined the staff of the Community Foundation in the mission of enriching the quality of life in the Chautauqua Region and know that your worth is not being undervalued or overlooked. Thank you!!!
Published in the April 23rd edition of The Post-Journal