- Leslie Goss
A New Face at the Community Foundation
[This week’s column is written by Lucy Dold, Executive Assistant at your Community
Foundation of White County.]
If you know the Community Foundation of White County, you know its Executive
Director, Leslie Goss. Under her leadership, the Foundation has seen incredible growth- not only in assets (under $3M to $11M so far during her tenure), but perhaps more importantly, the Foundation has seen incredible growth in its relationships.
I’m Lucy Dold, one of the newer faces here at the Foundation. If we haven’t had the
pleasure of meeting yet, I can usually be found standing next to Leslie in awe at her incredible breadth of knowledge and passion for our Community while she effortlessly fills every interaction with warmth and ease. It has been an honor and absolute pleasure to learn from her during my seventeen months as the Executive Assistant at your Community Foundation of White County.
One of the great joys of my work is being able to be Leslie’s sidekick. I’ve had the
opportunity to join in community meetings, discuss collaborations with other worthy nonprofits, meet our grant recipients to witness the good works that our grantmaking provides, join in trainings and conferences with other experts in the philanthropy field, and have the honor to sit with our incredible donors and listen to their stories and legacies that will live on through the power of endowment.
It’s through these awesome interactions I learned that the nonprofit world is much more
than a bunch of individual people or organizations who just want to “do good”-- it’s an entire field of passionate humans who strive to connect with people. It’s a group of people who think that building relationships and working together changes the world, even as cliché as it sounds.
When the world shut down in March 2020, many communities were frightened for what
was to come. At the Community Foundation, our Governing Council immediately stepped up to make sure White County had a chance of surviving this threat. With strong relationships throughout the region and great leadership from our local United Way, we were able to partner with Jasper and Pulaski counties to create White County’s United Way Community Relief Fund. CFWC provided a seed grant of $13,662 from its Spring 2020 Grants Cycle to initiate the fund, and with a very generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Relief Fund raised over $430,000. Since inception, the Fund has awarded over $200,000 to address needs brought about by COVID-19 in our three counties.
Our Governing Council also stepped up to address immediate food needs at the start of the pandemic: $1,000 proactive grants were awarded to the White County Food Pantry and to each to our four county school corporations, who took the lead in their respective communities.
While the pandemic has brought month after month of uncertainty into our lives, each
day, I witness incredible ideas being born and put into action. For example, one of our most
recent grants was to the City of Monticello Mayor’s Advisory Council for the ADA. A brilliant
collaboration between NAMI (the National Alliance for Mental Illness) and the ADA Council’s
celebration of Disability Awareness Month, NAMI will be presenting “In Our Own Voice” to
share stories of mental health struggles. The event will have full accessibility to the disability
community through the funds our grant provides. This is just one of many important ideas that I get to witness come to life.
But what I witness most is people creating this positive change together. There are
always many passionate and hardworking hearts behind any project or movement. And at the Community Foundation, we have the passion and support of our generous donors who make our granting possible. We are not in this world alone, and when we strive to understand each other better and work toward our future together, we can build a thriving community for us all.