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How philanthropy can drive change beyond the holidays

December 27th, 2023 Back to Browse Stories
Portrait image of Ric Devore, President

Ric DeVore, President, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

We’re in the season that inspires us to make a difference and give back to our communities. The time when nonprofits receive a surge of support, and their crucial work is supported in the spirit of the holidays.

This outpouring of goodwill is undoubtedly impactful, however, the needs of our community persist year-round, and so must our commitment to supporting the organizations and people that address them.

At the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, we recognize the tireless efforts of our nonprofit partners that work to make a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and families in our region. These organizations are on the front lines, addressing critical issues such as education, health care, social justice and environmental sustainability. They are the (many times unseen) backbone of our communities, providing vital services that contribute to the overall well-being of our friends, families and neighbors.

It is important that we shift our perspective from viewing charitable giving as seasonal, to understanding it is an important part of our everyday lives. The challenges our communities face do not adhere to a calendar, and our support should reflect this. Nonprofits require sustained resources to implement long-term solutions, foster innovation and build the resilience necessary to weather unforeseen challenges.

I am proud of the collective efforts of our donors, funders and dedicated staff, who work diligently throughout the year to connect resources with the organizations that need them most. When nonprofits approach us seeking support, their grant proposals reflect a broad spectrum of needs. From educational programs providing quality resources for academic achievement, to initiatives ensuring equitable access to health care, these proposals represent the diverse and pressing needs of our region. And while we do have expertise in grantmaking, I am also proud of our team’s ability to support nonprofits with convenings to network with peers, collaborations for more impactful work, and connecting them with partners and funders passionate about their mission.

Philanthropy requires action toward a vision.

Our collective philanthropic efforts contribute to the creation of a community where everyone feels valued, heard and included. As we think about how we support nonprofits, we should not just consider how we fund programs but rather how we can invest in the people and organizations working to foster the society that we all envision.

Data from our recent grant requests reveals a strong focus on programs that address systemic challenges, promote inclusivity and enhance the overall quality of life for our residents. Nonprofits are seeking support to sustain their day-to-day operations, enhance their capacity to improve their services, pursue game-changing innovative projects, and engage in collaborative efforts that have the potential to create lasting change. By addressing these needs, we contribute to building a stronger and more resilient community for all.

The dedication of our community leaders, combined with the strategic investments made possible by our donors and funders, will undoubtedly lead to transformative outcomes. Together, we are laying the foundation for a future where the needs of our community are met, and every individual can thrive.

As we make our way through this season of giving, let us remember that the spirit of generosity should guide us beyond the holidays and become a part of who we are I’m here to tell you that if you follow through on that promise to support nonprofits consistently, you will become a philanthropist making an incredibly positive impact on your community that will resonate for generations to come.

I am honored to lead the Community Foundation as we look ahead to the permanent, positive change that we seek to accomplish with you, the residents of southeast Michigan. Because when we make philanthropy an integral part of who we are as people, the list of possibilities for the good that can be done becomes infinite.

Richard “Ric” DeVore
President, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

This article first appeared in Crain’s Business on 12/25/2023