The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation (TCF) is a nonprofit organization that has been serving Hancock County for 20 years. Employing nine people, TCF manages more than 280 endowed and scholarship funds that support a variety of community-enrichment activities.
The turmoil in financial markets reduced the Foundation’s grant making capacity in addition to donors’ ability to create new funds or increase existing funds. TCF needed to find a way to meet an increased need for grants and grow its assets in a sustainable manner.
Using the methodology within Six Disciplines alongside the coaching process, TCF completed strategic planning to refine their mission, vision, and values. With the participation of the Board, the staff developed a well-defined, comprehensive plan to move the organization forward. Not only did the plan create direction, it also created a focus for the most important activities for the organization. Each staff member has developed an individual plan that reflects and supports the annual plan and goals of The Community Foundation. Quarterly review sessions keep the plan relevant and help simplify multi-year goals into manageable pieces.
• Well defined, agreed upon areas of focus
• Measurable outcomes
• Highly visible and clear objectives
• Increased and regular feedback
• Improved team communication
• Enhanced understanding of interdependencies
• Greater transparency and accountability for the Board of Directors
• Improved clarity when comparing costs to benefits
• Improved goal achievement
Employing the Six Disciplines coaching and methodology has enabled The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation to do more with less. In times of tight finances, TCF finds that it is more closely aligning with both donor expectations and community expectations. Operating costs have stayed within industry benchmarks; programs that no longer fall within the mission of the Foundation have been modified or dropped; and resources have been realigned based on industry best practices and research.
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In 1976, Findlay resident L. Dale Dorney left the Cleveland Foundation a $5 million bequest dedicated to two interests: strengthening collegiate business operation in Ohio and improving the quality of life in Findlay and Hancock County. He hoped that the Findlay part of this gift might one day form the nucleus of a community foundation.
His dream came to fruition in 1992 when the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation was established as a supporting organization of the Cleveland Foundation, fulfilling Mr. Dorney’s intent of supporting his home community. From 1992 to February 1999, the Community Foundation operated under the mentorship of the Cleveland Foundation. On February 28, 1999, the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation became an independent entity and the parts of the Dorney Fund assets designated for Hancock County were returned to Hancock County. Grants totaling more than $11 million have been made from L.Dale Dorney’s original gift of $2.2 million to Hancock County.
Using these gifts, The Community Foundation strives for careful stewardship of all donations, to fund a variety of community-enrichment activities. TCF has been using Six Disciplines for two years.
The financial crisis of 2008-2009 decreased the capacity of The Community Foundation to make grants while the financial crisis increased the community’s need for grants. Complicating this situation was the verification that those services that most closely aligned with TCF’s core values were the same services least supported by revenue. Their challenge was to find ways to both increase revenue and identify donor and community expectations, and do so in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation engaged with Six Disciplines approximately two years ago. During that time, TCF has completed strategic planning work sessions to refine their mission, vision, and values. The one-hundred points exercises reinforced the need to focus the foundation’s actions. Moving these pieces forward, each staff member developed an individual plan that reflects and supports the annual plan and goals. On a quarterly basis, the review sessions help TCF keep the plan relevant. Multi-year initiatives are distilled into manageable pieces and progress can easily be measured and celebrated.
Since implementing Six Disciplines, The Community Foundation finds that they are recognizing many benefits, some of which include the following. The staff gives and receives increased and regular feedback, helping them know exactly where they are and where they are going. Team communication has also greatly improved. The staff now has an enhanced understanding of how each of their actions affects the rest of the staff, and also how the actions of the rest of the staff affect each of them.
The Board of Directors receives information from the staff with improved transparency and accountability, helping them to better guide TCF forward. The board and management see improved clarity when comparing costs to benefits, additionally.
What The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation has to say about Six Disciplines
"I would encourage not for profit, direct service organizations to consider implementing the planning process from 6D, wholeheartedly. It can make a real impact on their ability to deliver on their mission and to become more self-sufficient in terms of their funding. ~ Kathy Kreuchauf, President
"We believe that we are far ahead of the curve in planning because our plan is a living document that guides us." ~ Julie Brown, Senior Program Officer