Philanthropy done differently: my summer with the Community Foundation
By Cheyenne Ransom
Ransom, a rising junior at the University of Georgia, was the 2019 summer fellow at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
The opportunity to work with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta came to me completely by chance, but as I continue my work with this extraordinary organization, I cannot shake this feeling of fate, destiny, and every other word that encompasses feelings of “meant to be”. The Community Foundation is the greatest force of philanthropy and community engagement within the 23 counties they support and as the Summer Fellow of 2019, I am blessed with the opportunity to see their great works and the amazing impact it has on the city I call home.
The first phrase that comes to mind when I am asked about the Foundation is “philanthropy done differently”. The attention to detail and care demonstrated throughout this organization is a testament to their belief in the power of community and cooperation. From their donors to nonprofits to recipients, the Foundation’s presence can be felt on every level. The relationships they have and the culture fostered here is like no other. Everyone is united in their pursuit to improve, not just the city, but the lives of the people here as well. I believe that the degree of dedication is what makes them such a force for change in the community.
Working with the Foundation is rewarding in several ways, but the most delightful to me is the ability to see my city from an entirely new perspective. The communities and issues I live among are still a focal point in my life but through the lens of equity, reform, innovation and sustainability that I have only been able to envision with the guidance of the Community Foundation.
As a Fellow of the Community Foundation, I have come to value the pricelessness of human capital. Money, while useful, doesn’t have a heart, a home, or hope but the people who do bring everything the Foundation wishes to accomplish into fruition. Seeing this transformation from the ground up is inspiring. I am becoming aware of my agency and the ability I have to do work in my community. The Foundation has taught me that I am an agent for change, it’s just a matter of activating myself. The differences I can make and the lives I can change through my efforts stretch just as far as any philanthropic dollar.
My experiences as this year’s Summer Fellow have changed my life. I am not the same person I was upon starting this journey and I could not be more proud or thankful to be working amongst the titans of Atlanta’s philanthropy. The Community Foundation and the people within it are helping me realize my passions and opening doors to worlds I would not have thought possible for myself. I can only hope that the knowledge and experience I gain here can be half as helpful to others as it is to me.