As we age we live the importance of endurance. We have invested our lives in our families, jobs and career, church and community, and now turn to our retirement and remembrance. It is hard to find something not adversely affected by time.
Our family is always central to who and what we do but it is impossible to keep it from scattering for jobs, careers, and marriage. Cousins, nieces and nephews, even brothers and sisters drift apart, and eventually one branch is disconnected from another.
Our local church may fade slowly as it remains wholly captive to the economic life of the community. When families move away it is not the fault of the church, but it suffers. Many older churches are saddled with a building far too large for their present and probable future needs. When the dollars are not there the collection plates stop , and the doors are locked.
Banks whether with older stately facades or with newer electronic faces, feed on each other and are always potential acquisition and merger targets. Banks serve a local community but no longer belong to it.
Cemeteries suffer with age. No young and few middle aged residents want to serve on cemetery boards. Refooting leaning stones, repairing aging damage, and erasing vandalism mean cemeteries can rarely sustain themselves with any style.
Growing up we think our home town will always be there. Now we know that every city neighborhood, town, and rural community suffers from tax base issues, inadequate police protection, and decaying infrastructure. If a school or grocery closes, the community is in heart failure.
Even nature is giving us a hard time. Global warming, endangered species, air fit to breath, and potable water is just the beginning of a long list of problems and bad behavior that are taking the good earth from us.
Why does it matter? It matters because the lack of endurance makes us sad wherever we experience it. A happy family, a stable and prosperous livelihood are fundamental. We want to believe that the generation that follows us will have been enriched by our lives, but in confronting the lack of endurance we realize our contribution to the future may be in jeopardy.
I believe, regardless of the stresses, our humanity and faith and goodwill endure. They endure because they are forward looking and because we can take measures to ensure they endure. This endurance is at the core of the community foundation. The principal duty of the community foundation is to provide good stewardship of endowment trust funds. Those funds are put to work decade upon decade, century upon century, keeping your humanity, faith, and goodwill active in the community you loved. There is no expiration, no merger or acquisition that can separate community from foundation.
The community foundation renews itself because all actions are openly decided by people living in the community. It understands the community because the board and all volunteers are inclusive of every constituency, without exclusivity. The donors define the work to be done. Charles Marlin
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