NCCF’s Affiliate Impact Committee begins focus on network

When NCCF’s statewide board established the FUTURES Committee to examine the Foundation’s direction at our quarter-century mark, one charge was to focus on our local affiliates. The Committee work wound up in early 2013 with several recommendations, including NCCF’s continued commitment to our unique affiliate network, one of the largest in the country and the Foundation’s key differentiator.

The creation of the NCCF Affiliate Impact Committee was a logical next step, and work has begun to ensure the network’s ongoing and continued success.  The Committee is comprised of affiliate leaders representing different regions in NCCF’s statewide network.

Steve Alley, a consultant with Ekstrom & Associates, has been helping to facilitate the work to chart our future. He distills the primary goals of the Affiliate Impact Committee to four major questions:

  • What is the vision for the affiliates in ten years?
  • What will the affiliates need to make that vision happen?
  • What does success look like for affiliates?
  • What alternative affiliate structure or models should be considered to achieve the economies of scale necessary to ensure sustainability?

As much as the committee’s goal is to position affiliates for the future, Community Leadership Team Director Sally Migliore also wants everyone to value the journey. “This work is a process,” she says. “Its value is also about education – ours and our affiliates – and gathering feedback to ensure that everyone has a voice at the table.”

The research phase began with the “Affiliate Listening Tour,” a series of focus group discussions held across the state last summer and early fall. Research continues as each affiliate board participates in similar discussions using a survey instrument to help gauge board members’  thoughts about  their approaches to several key areas of their work including grants, developing local philanthropic assets and community leadership.

Patricia Lawler, NCCF regional associate for the southeast, has already conducted the survey with some of her boards. She describes the exercise as “valuable” for the robust discussion that inevitably ensues and the interest it has sparked in the activities of other affiliates in her region.  “Robeson, for example, is keenly interested in the capacity-building focus of grantmaking in New Hanover and Onslow counties,” she says. “This is not what they have considered in the past and the board sees how it could strengthen the local nonprofit community.”

A member of the Affiliate Impact Committee representing the Coastal Plain North region is Brack Townsend, a member of the advisory board of the Futrell-Mauldin Community Foundation of Greater Rocky Mount. Like Lawler, he sees value in learning about what other affiliates are doing. “I think we will learn how their experiences translate to our work,” he says. “This will help us evaluate ourselves.”

Townsend says he is very gratified for the opportunity to serve on the committee and looks forward to the renewed direction it will provide his affiliate – and the entire network.  “I’ve already learned so much about the overall organization of NCCF and the affiliate structure,” he says. “I can’t wait to see how this all applies to leverage our work in the Rocky Mount area.”

NCCF CEO and President Jennifer Tolle Whiteside is excited about the work of the Affiliate Impact Committee and its potential to leverage and strengthen our network. “We embarked on this work because we recognize the powerful potential of our affiliates and the importance of charting a course to take us all to the next level.”

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