Foundation Prepares for the Future
Change will come whether we want it to or not. The last year has challenged us all to adapt to some severe changes. Rather than let external forces determine the future, the Cook Family Foundation is taking several steps to set the direction of our philanthropy in the years to come. First, the board recently revised and reaffirmed our mission and vision. Second, and perhaps most importantly, we have adopted three values to guide our decisions. (Read these statements here). Third, we have hired a new staff person to add capacity to our work.
The purpose of the Foundation remains unchanged: to serve as both a resource for the greater Shiawassee community and be a catalyst for positive change. While our vision and mission builds on our history of grant making around education, the environment, and the arts, we have restated both to emphasize our commitment to community stewardship and our desire to collaborate with nonprofit and other organizational partners. As we continue to navigate change, these statements serve as north stars.
To more clearly communicate to the community we serve, guide our grantees, and remind ourselves of our legacy and commitments, we have also articulated three values: 1) Be Inclusive; 2) Have Integrity; and 3) Make True Impact. These values help clarify and expand our purpose. They also serve as helpful tools to evaluate decisions and our behaviors as the staff and board of the Foundation.
Inclusiveness is an aspirational value to serve the community without bias and to strive to create opportunity broadly. Integrity reminds us of our responsibility to use our resources for the public good and be transparent and open in our work. Impact provides a ruler to evaluate our grant-making. Together, we hope to use these values to provide a stronger, more responsive philanthropy.
The statement of values comes at an important time for the Foundation, as we begin to more actively involve the fourth generation of the Cook Family in our governance. Bailey Cook Leppert, great-granddaughter of the founders Don and Florence-etta Cook, joined the board in 2020 and took a leadership role in working with family members of all three living generations to define these values. They reflect our family legacy, several decades of grant-making, and the goals we have for the future.
As we continue to grow and prepare for the future, we have added capacity to better serve the community and our grantees. Our new office manager, Kerry Dutcher joins our long-time Associate Director Yvette Collard. Together, these two professionals will support Cook Family members and serve our stakeholders.
The last year has been challenging for all of us, and provided an opportunity to re-examine our purposes. We hope to use the lessons of 2020 to inform and shape our work. In the years ahead, the Foundation will continue to be cognizant of changes in the community and the world. Guided by our mission, vision, and values, we will continue to make course corrections, adaptations, and improvements. Your help and feedback is appreciated.