"Yes, this is my truck. No, I don't want to help you move." I passed this bumper sticker on I-5 last weekend. It made me chuckle because the Community Foundation will be moving in September (which is a terrific story in itself). If you have ever moved out of your home, particularly one that you've lived in for a long time, you've experienced the memory flood: all the big and small things that happened within those walls. In place of a dining room or a kitchen, many of our memories happen to be from our offices and even our conference room.
Like all families, our memories include high points as well as heartbreaking lows and everything in between. One that means a lot took place just a few months ago. Our newest (at the time) board member was commenting on the fact that he kept, "bumping into the Community Foundation everywhere." He was hearing about projects underway as well as new opportunities. Either the Community Foundation was already involved or our board member suggested that we might be able to help. As a result, he saw the Community Foundation in a new way: as a resource, a common thread and a flexible tool kit complete with grease and glue to help get the job done. It may sound messy and it's the best compliment we can imagine.
As for heartbreak, we have sat with people experiencing the devastating loss of a family member. They wrestle with decisions about how best to celebrate a cherished life while they claw through the thick haze that is left in the wake of death. While it is painful to watch others suffer, it is a gift to hear them talk about those they love. It is a gift to try to ease their burden in any way at all.
Countless organizations doing important work in our community have graced our "home." They have come to learn from experts and from each other. Our grantees have shared their ideas, successes and lessons learned with us and with one another. We've hosted new organizations getting off the ground. And on occasion when things are bleak, we've brought funders and other agencies together with organizations in need to help them through a crisis. Just like you would do with a member of your family.
There have been many conversations about how to tackle incredibly complex community issues in a strategic, coordinated way that builds on all the great things that are already happening here. Some of those conversations have happened at the Community Foundation. We're excited about the opportunity to turn them into actions and investments in doing things differently. Our new home, the Whatcom Center for Philanthropy, is one of the ideas to come out of those conversations. We will be moving into a space that we will share with the Chuckanut Health Foundation and United Way of Whatcom County. We already work closely together. Soon, we will be blazing new trail together.
A few weeks ago I met with a long-time donor to finalize a gift through his will. He emailed me to confirm the changes. As I sat at my desk in the office I will soon leave, I read, "I am very pleased to be a part of a community that has an organization like the Whatcom Community Foundation. Thank you for your help in making our dreams come true."
These stories say as much about our community as they say about the Community Foundation. We love a good challenge. We want others to succeed. We know that we have many of the resources we need right here. We want to get smarter every day. We can be responsible, creative and collaborative all at the same time. We are dedicated to working together to find solutions and to make this community - our shared home - a better place for everyone.
We'll miss our old home while we're excited to make a new one. You are welcome to visit. And if you happen to drive a truck, you might want to buy a bus pass for the next few months, you never know who might be looking for help with a move.
This is one of a year-long series highlighting the work of the Whatcom Community Foundation. Author Mauri Ingram is the president and CEO of the foundation. For more information, go to whatcomcf.org.
ABOUT THIS COLUMN
Window On My World is an occasional essay in Monday's Bellingham Herald that allows Whatcom County residents to share their passion for what they do, an idea or cause they support. Send your Window On My World, which must be no more than 700 words, to Julie.email@example.com.