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As they begin to grow in influence, emerging community foundations face challenging questions about what it means to be a leader in their communities. For some, it may mean providing support in a new way, while others may focus on convening key players, and still others may decide to become a highly sought resource. Successful leaders of community foundations share stories, insights, and lessons about how they’ve navigated their own leadership journeys. The content in this paper has been developed through the experiences of a group of participants in The James Irvine Foundation Community Foundations Initiative II. It includes case studies and a Leadership Investment Matrix toolkit.

Top Takeaways

  1. Community leaders agree that it’s as much about the organization’s actions as it is about the perception of the organization in others’ eyes.
  2. One single community foundation can’t do everything all the time, so it is wise to advance at your own pace and establish boundaries along the way.
Becoming a recognized leader is both a destination and a journey for emerging community foundations.