Community Generosity

Non-profit organizations in Charlotte, Mich., have long enjoyed the philanthropic support of community members.  HGB has taken a leadership role in a unique approach by collaborating with other local individuals and organizations to create a strategic generosity plan.  Guided by a bold vision the plan’s intent is to inspire the “power of one” across the community and to create a sustainable set of practices for an engaged and supportive citizenry.  Whether it’s the power of one hour, one person, one dollar or one project, the power of one can transform communities.

The generosity plan has several components:
•    Operations (how we get there)
•    Resources (opportunities for funding)
•    Communications
•    Measurement.  

Operations includes strategies for initiating generous actions … celebrating generosity, integrating generosity into health care, education, workplaces and churches; and building systems that connect.  The Resources component includes strategies for engaging individual philanthropists, grants, local organizations and corporate partners. Communications involves all the ways to tell generosity stories.  And Measurement includes the various ways the community can measure and track local trends in generosity.  

The community conducted a generosity survey at festivals, in coffee shops and local papers.  Stories of generosity now appear regularly in local publications. Local charitable assets groups have begun to connect with youth groups. A local time bank initiative was established, creating systems through which people are able to put their time, energy and wisdom into motion for another person. And Hayes Green Beach created a Power of One Fund, setting aside 1 percent of its annual net income for a fund to seed generosity initiatives.

The original vision for community generosity included a concept for a fund that would support collaborative projects and fund multiple organizations.  Since 2008, a local committee of community volunteers, including HGB representatives, has pursued this vision, realizing it at last in 2012 when the Charlotte Generosity Fund was established.  Initial donations came from a new annual generosity celebration.  

During the last year, the Charlotte Generosity Fund framework was shaped by adapting the Seattle Foundation’s Seven Elements of a Healthy Community to provide the basis for how grants would be made available from the fund.  The vision for the upcoming year is to build a plan for local surveys and prioritization, so that community needs in the seven elements are linked to grants through the Charlotte Generosity Fund.

The community is recognizing HGB’s efforts. In a recent survey conducted by Professional Research Consultants, more than 40 percent of the 600 respondents named HGB as the hospital that does the most to give back to the community. HGB was mentioned twice as many times as the next hospital named.