Karen Bilowith served as President & CEO for the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region from 2009-2015, and will become President & CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation in February 2016. Below, Karen shares a few thoughts from the days before her departure.
At the Community Foundation, we have never shied away from bold goals. Because of our unique role in the Capital Region as a convener and leader, we are able to set ambitious goals informed by our deep knowledge of community needs and opportunities, bring together diverse stakeholders, marshal resources, and implement plans to achieve our goals.
As I prepare to leave New York’s Capital Region to lead the Idaho Community Foundation, I’ve reflected on how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to lead this organization through nearly seven years of ambitious goal-setting and major impact.
Community foundations are very special anchor institutions in the communities they serve. I have seen first-hand how the boards and staffs of community foundations are deeply dedicated to improving the lives of residents, the quality of their communities and the economic vitality of the region. This is certainly true in the Capital Region.
As I transition to a new community, I am reminded of the power of collective philanthropy, that generosity lives in many places and takes many forms, and that community foundations really do play a unique and special role in philanthropy.
I am so proud of the work we have done over the past seven years. I’ve been fortunate to work with exceptional Foundation board members and leaders. I extend special thanks to the board chairs who have led the Community Foundation during my years with the organization: Jim Prout, Maggie Vinciguerra, John MacAffer, Deborah Onslow, and Ellen Sax. Susan Picotte will serve as the next board chair for the Foundation, and I know the organization will continue to thrive under her leadership. These board members and chairs led us through the economic downtown turn in 2008 to a position of strength, and with the development of the Foundation’s strategic plan have created a solid foundation for the future.
I am also so appreciative to have worked with such a dedicated, passionate and expert staff. I know the organization is in great hands with Jackie Mahoney serving as interim President & CEO. I extend deepest thanks to Jackie and the entire staff: Laura, Mindy, Jenna, Siobhan, Shelly and Beth.
Lastly, I want to thank all of YOU – the Foundation’s donors, supporters, friends and stakeholders. You make of the work of the Foundation possible. You are partners in our grantmaking and community initiatives and your generosity and hard work makes change happen. You help us truly exemplify community philanthropy. As Foundation nears its 50th anniversary I know it will continue to succeed. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.