I am happy to provide just a brief introduction to this article from our Executive Director of Development, Perry Wolfe, on investing in our communities. Rather than hear it from me, though, I wanted you to hear how important it is to Greenleaf Trust directly from him as he helps lead one of our community investment initiatives:
We at Greenleaf Trust are proud to be a Michigan company. We love this beautiful state and the communities that make it such a great place to live, work and play. I learned years ago that my role in this world went far beyond my own selfish endeavors, and that meant I had a responsibility to “leave this place better than I found it.”
The culture of community development and investment has long been a focus and priority at Greenleaf Trust and is a big reason why I chose to align myself with an organization that sees such value in the communities that make up this great state.
Community development at its core is only effective and impactful if the grassroots efforts of small non-profits are supported in such a way that they thrive and are successful in achieving their individual missions by helping those people, neighborhoods and communities that need it most. It does in fact take a village.
Greenleaf Trust has historically invested time and money in the communities that we serve. Most employees have taken on leadership roles with non-profits within their communities, giving time and their own money to help support even the smallest non-profits. Each year in February, Greenleaf Trust participates in a “Day of Caring” where all offices close and virtually all employees volunteer their time helping various non-profits. However, this was not enough. Late in 2019, Greenleaf Trust made the conscious decision to become a grant maker in an up and coming national organization known as Catchafire (www.catchafire.org).
Catchafire is a social enterprise that Michigan organizations partner with to strengthen non-profits access to professional talent by using technology to make this talent accessible to all Michigan non-profits, large and small.
In collaboration with Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and Washtenaw Coordinated Funders, a statewide platform was launched late in 2019 called “One Michigan” aimed at enabling all Michigan non-profits access to “on-demand” talent and capacity building support, especially those that may be understaffed and under resourced.
This initiative has grown to include 14 Michigan grant makers from across the state, who have in total enabled 1,200+ Michigan non-profits access to the “One Michigan” online platform and capacity building infrastructure which helps them connect with virtual skills-based volunteers to seek help with marketing, program delivery, fundraising, technology, financial management, HR, operations, board and leadership needs.
There is no question, investing in our Michigan communities is important. Involvement at this level allows Greenleaf Trust the forum to walk side by side with others making everyone care and help more with greater purpose.