2020 has taught the team at Grand Rapids Community Foundation so much. One of our most consistent lessons has been the importance of relationships.
We don’t mean surface-level relationships where you chat about the weather and nonconsequential things. We mean real, deep and meaningful relationships anchored in trust, transparency, accountability and shared values.
This past year has required us to lean into our relationships more than ever. Our foundation partners, nonprofit partners, donor partners and community partners have all been critical to our ability to learn, adapt and respond during what may be our community’s hardest times in modern history. Our relationships have informed the impact we have been able to make.
Our relationships with nonprofit and community partners keep reminding us to center the expertise of those with first-hand experience of the issues and obstacles holding our community back from realizing its full potential. You are helping us realize what it will take to make Kent County a place where everyone can access opportunity, prosperity and belonging.
None of our work would be possible without ongoing support from our donor partners, whose contributions to various funds have led to a milestone fundraising year. We welcomed many new donor partners and established 40 new funds that will address our community’s current and future needs. Your overwhelming generosity has given us the ability to allocate funds immediately to community members most in need—while also maintaining our endowment so we can respond to near and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as future issues that may arise.
Along with the outpouring of generosity, last fiscal year brought many challenges. Pandemic-related market declines negatively impacted our portfolio, and our assets decreased slightly to $341,945,625. Despite market volatility, our finance team and Investment Review Committee remain steadfast in their commitment to provide long-term, risk-managed returns for our diverse portfolio. With our partners’ support, we awarded $13,487,488 in grants to nonprofits and scholarships to local students, including our inaugural class of Challenge Scholars, who graduated from Union High School in the spring.
Throughout this annual report, you will find stories of how our relationships with partners like you have led to impact informed by the expertise of those closest to the heart of the issues and aspirations of our community. As we continue toward recovery and a better tomorrow for everyone who calls West Michigan home, we are counting on your continued partnership. We wish you well and look forward to connecting with you soon.
With deepest appreciation and gratitude,
Diana R. Sieger
Kathleen B. Vogelsang