CEO Blog October

“Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.”-Jacqueline Woodson 

More than forty years ago, Trustees of the Nordson Corporation Foundation – Evan W. Nord, Eric T. Nord, and William D. Ginn – saw the need for a community foundation that would serve the needs of Lorain County. These visionary leaders knew that a local, public community foundation could make a real impact in the lives of all Lorain County residents. The first Board meeting was in November 1980, with the Nordson Corporation Foundation pledging $500K if other businesses could raise an equal amount. The community response to this challenge was enthusiastic, the match was soon met, and what is now known as the Community Foundation of Lorain County was established.  

You may be wondering why I am reflecting on the history of the Community Foundation’s origins. Our Board of directors recently announced a unique partnership with Paradigm Institutional Investments, an African American-owned firm focused on guiding institutions’ investments. The Community Foundation will launch its partnership with Paradigm providing an investment strategy for an initial pool of $500K. Similarly, I am proud of our Board and leadership for aligning our mission and core commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity (DI&E) with our investments. While discussions around DI&E may feel relatively “new” in our culture, it is not new to the Foundation. This commitment has been a fundamental part of the Community Foundation since its inception.  

Since the 1980s, the Community Foundation has worked to address these critical issues.  During those four decades, our efforts have included prioritizing diversity in board recruitment, the development of our Affiliate Funds, and in 2013, our Board dedicating $100K and two years of their time to assess every aspect of the Community Foundation (governance, staffing, vendors, investments, policies, civic engagement, grantmaking, etc.) through a DI&E lens. This deep dive is helping to make Lorain County a more equitable and inclusive place.  

We have made tremendous progress, but there is still work to be done. Each step that considers DI&E is a step in the right direction. Our newly minted partnership with Paradigm is another committed act in what continues to be a meaningful journey, and I am excited to continue to champion our efforts. Will you join us? 

I would be remiss to close without my gratitude to our incredible community and 65 non-profit organizations that raised $277K during our annual Connect to a Cause 2021. It was a thrill to make this announcement on October 1st, surrounded by our hard-working staff, Board, and non-profit community that all work to connect people to causes that matter.  

I hope you enjoy and embrace this beautiful Fall season of letting go and new beginnings, and I look forward to seeing you out and about in the community soon.  

Be well,