New strategy framework builds on success while refreshing values, mission and priorities

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

What a journey we’ve all been on these last 18 months. When we started out back in March 2020, we packed our bags for what we thought might be a slightly extended trip but soon realized we were headed for a new destination, a new way of being, of working, of living. The GPS of life would reroute us at various intersections, from virtual to hybrid to in-person and back and forth.

At Philanthropy Ohio, we are rounding out the last year of our 2019-2021 strategic framework.  We reflect on how we were able to adapt quickly to continue to be the organization our members rely on, to provide the space and connections for sharing, learning and collaboration. And, on how our prior years advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy equipped many of our members to respond through a racial reckoning.

This past January, our board of trustees launched a strategy process led by a committee of your peers representing members across the state and from varied types of philanthropic organizations (private, corporate and community foundations). The journey launched with an exploration of Philanthropy Ohio’s evolutions. The discovery phase surfaced and answered key strategic questions, engaged board members and staff through one-on-one interviews and examined feedback from members through our annual survey. The design phase took committee and board leadership through organizational visioning, considering critical questions and dilemmas to inform a strategy narrative that led to creating a Strategy Framework that the board approved at its September 2021 meeting.

I’m now pleased to present the 2022-2024 Strategy Framework, adopted by the board in its September meeting.

Our vision remains true – A just and vibrant Ohio through impactful philanthropy.

Our mission has changed slightly to reflect movement in the field to address power dynamics and to encourage a community-centered approach to philanthropy – To lead and equip Ohio philanthropy to be effective partners for change in our communities.

Our values have also evolved:

  • Integrity – holding to honesty, reliability and respect
  • Community – cultivating connections, collaborations and engagement
  • Equity – seeking justice, fairness and belonging
  • Voice – listening, centering others and speaking up with purpose
  • Courage – striving to be brave, innovative and to take risks

Guiding our workplans for the next three years is a commitment to responsive and adaptive leadership in an ever-changing Ohio, with refreshed and expanded priorities:

Advocate – Build and strengthen relationships to support policies that bolster the charitable sector and improve Ohio’s communities, incorporating an equity lens in policy analysis and a process for taking position on divisive or controversial or partisan issues or legislation.

Educate – Curate learning opportunities leveraging local and national thought leaders and knowledge resources to advance individual and collective interests and expertise. Lead toward impactful, equitable and community-centered philanthropy through an Ohio-relevant lens.

Convene – Gather people in adaptive and responsive ways to create paths for connection and collaboration, peer learning and sharing, and to strengthen relationships and amplify impact.

Collaborate – Build and strengthen public/private partnership opportunities with the governor’s office, relevant state agencies and community stakeholders to address statewide challenges and opportunities.

Centering Equity – Lead and support philanthropic work to center racial equity by bringing training, tools, inspiration and conversations to more Ohio communities, holding space for peer sharing and cohort learning and expanding to include other marginalized identities and issues (gender, geographic, economic, health and other equities).

Our internal priorities will focus on organizational culture, talent management, operations improvement, our business model and board leadership – all to ensure Philanthropy Ohio has the capacity to realize its mission.

We’re thankful for all who participated in creating the framework and we look forward to working with all of you as effective partners for change toward a just and vibrant Ohio through impactful philanthropy!

If you missed the Annual Meeting or Philanthropy Forward ’21 where I announced the new Strategy Framework, watch the recording online.

Deborah Aubert Thomas
President & CEO

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