Collaboration: The Philanthropic Vehicle of Choice in Connecting Passions to Missions
By Damayea Bangura
Damayea “BB” Bangura served as the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s 2018 Summer Fellow. She is in her last year of studies at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies studying public policy and nonprofit leadership. BB is passionate about using third sector initiatives to propel community engagement and social good.
“It takes a village.” This centuries-old African proverb is often used to highlight the need for ensured success through partnership. A bright-eyed two-year-old, I emigrated from Sierra Leone to the United Sates. My family held tight to our traditional customs and values. One prominent value being the importance of communal collaboration. No matter the deed, we carried one another and worked together. During my summer fellowship at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, I realized that this West African proverb is just as relevant in metro Atlanta.
The Community Foundation fellowship is a 10-week program in which I spent two weeks in five different departments. I began in the Office of the President with Alicia Philipp, learning the significance of reputation and networking. Weeks three and four were spent in Philanthropy, witnessing donor cultivation and engagement. Donors are a central part to the missions of community foundations. I then transitioned to Community Intelligence, whose focus is nonprofit support and the distribution of dollars- be it via competitive grants for nonprofits or scholarships for students.
The next rotation was Marketing and Communications, better known as MarCom. This group develops internal and external strategies for organizational branding while increasing the Foundation’s visibility to the public. I rounded out my experience with the Capacity department. Capacity houses finance, operations, information technology and human resources. This aggregate branch is the overall support for the Community Foundation. They are continuously identifying areas for improved productivity and efficiency.
From assisting in strategic planning with Philanthropy to digging through 1980’s Polaroids for MarCom’s social media posts, it was evident that a common thread linked each department together: collaboration. This tactical teamwork is the foundation of the Foundation.
The Community Foundation serves as a seamless liaison between donors and nonprofits. Dedicated philanthropic officers guide donors to make impactful investments while the Community Intelligence team makes sure a wide array of nonprofits and causes receive the resources from these investments. The Foundation is committed to strengthening the work of its 23-county region.
Employees of the social sector typically share the same bottom line: they want to save the world. Whether your world-saving role model is an elected official, nonprofit president or Marvel superhero, you know they do not work alone. There is strength in numbers. No matter if you call it a village or a community, there is no denying that we exist and progress because of one another. I am because you are.