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Strategy session: Hartford foundation focuses on community

What’s more important than community? Not much, according to the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. The Foundation recently announced a new strategic plan, mission statement and vision statement that align the Foundation’s roles as philanthropic advisor, grant maker and community leader.

“Philanthropy’s power lies in its ability to solve problems through giving,” said Michael Johnston, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Our goal is to increase our community’s collective impact by addressing each component of effective philanthropy – from a donor’s philanthropic objectives, to the community’s understanding of its own needs, to a nonprofit’s ability to meet those needs efficiently.”

According to Johnston, the Foundation’s goals for the next five years include:

Build community’s capacity to do good – A new center for Innovative Philanthropy will focus on three key objectives: 1) drive more educated philanthropy through data and research; 2) develop institutional ability to succeed through nonprofit capacity building and 3) implement giving for impact including philanthropic consultation for donors and venture philanthropy initiatives.

Expand impact – To expand its ability to measure impact, and to help others do the same, the Foundation will work to retain its grants process, while introducing more public accountability, transparency, focus, and research.

Strengthen presence for the community – To grow, change and innovate along with the community, the Foundation has plans for operational and technological improvements, as well as marketing and communications to share with the Greater Hartford community and beyond.

According to Johnston, the Foundation’s new mission and vision statements demonstrate the many facets of the Foundation’s role, in simple terms that reflect its inclusiveness and open approach to philanthropy. The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, reads the mission statement, “unlocks the transformative power of individual and collective philanthropy to solve problems, strengthen community organizations, and provide permanent support for our Jewish community.”

The vision statement sums it up in three words: Jewish. Community. Forever.

“We are lucky to have inherited a vibrant community with an unparalleled richness of Jewish experience, and it’s our responsibility to protect and preserve this community,” said David R. Miller, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “We are excited about our future. That’s why we love the new vision statement with its many layers and meanings. It’s what we seek: Jewish. Community. Forever.”

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