A Reflection from Delores

Maya Angelou said, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver,” and that quote of hers resonates with me as I complete a rewarding two-year term as Chair of the Governing Board of GCF. 

When I was asked to serve as chair in 2019, I was following in the footsteps of two great leaders, Dianne Rosenberg and Chris Fister. Though unsure of how my mark would ultimately be left on the organization, I intended to not only make a difference, but to further advance GCF’s mission.

All parts of any organization, while serving different functions, are equally vital and must align in mission and intention to be successful. The staff members at GCF execute this principle flawlessly. Although we faced some tremendous headwinds in 2020 amidst the two pandemics, we still prevailed.

These last two years have been personally rewarding and I am proud of all the work we do at GCF; however, I am most proud of the $5M Racial Justice Fund that our governing board endorsed unanimously. Which underscores our commitment to transparent conversations about racial equity that builds connection and continues to move us forward with enhanced insight and shared purpose.

Nothing about the path toward racial equity is easy, and there is so much work yet to be done. But the fund is a powerful demonstration to never letting up on the gas pedal as we drive toward racial justice. I won’t see a victory lap in my lifetime, but I have a deep hope that my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren will live in a future where racial equity is as foreign of a term to them as “8-track tape.”

I’m also proud of the collaboration between Ellen Katz, our CEO, and Moira Weir, CEO of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Their work raised over $7.3M for our COVID Rapid Relief Fund for nonprofits financially impacted by COVID-19. What an exceptional accomplishment in such a short timeframe.

As I self-reflect on the past two years, it is inspiring to see the generosity of the Greater Cincinnati community. We as a community embrace the spirit of helping one another and practice philanthropy. Collectively we improve the lives for all our own communities. We all come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, which contributes to the special and unique ways we view the world and how and why we choose to make an impact. Deep down I believe we all want to make the world a better place and leave it in better condition for generations coming behind us.

We understand that we all win by building inclusive cultures and embracing equity. We must remain laser-focused on moving toward a more equitable and just community for all.

As I move forward, serving on the governing board of GCF has fueled my desire to do more, be more and serve more. Thank you to the Governing Board, Ellen, Dora, Phillip, Will and the entire GCF team, as well as donors for allowing me to fulfill my promise of leaving my mark!

Delores Hargrove-Young
Governing Board Chair