Priority Areas


Our Strategic Priorities

During this next three-cycle the Foundation will continue to focus its discretionary and competitive financial and organizational resources in two areas:


Community, Economic Growth, and Prosperity 

  • Placemaking
  • Our downtowns – their vitality and continued revitalization
  • Waterfront development and utilization
  • Connected trailways
  • Regional collaboration and planning
  • Entrepreneurism
  • Small Business
  • Mission (aka “Impact”) Investing; true profit-making investments within our region
  • Nonprofit capacity building
  • Re-engaging seniors and early retirees into the workforce
  • Childcare and housing as it impacts working class parents/families and employers


College, Career, and Life Success

  • Programs & projects to re-engage students who do not complete a college degree in a traditional timeframe or who leave college to explore other options
  • Exploration & preparation for career and lifetime success after K-12
  • Emphasis on skilled trades and apprenticeship programs
  • Robotics programs and related facilities, workshops, labs, competition space, etc.
  • Pathways to career options and exploration with an emphasis on non-traditional students and young adults
  • Hands-on learning and training programs for youth and adults alike, including under-educated or under-trained adults looking for new career options
  • Employer Resource Networks that address life needs of working class residents, including issues such as daycare, substance abuse, transportation, short-term loans, access to services, etc.


Note: These priorities apply only to those funds owned and managed by the Community Foundation for which the donors have given the Foundation complete discretion in the spending of available funds.  The Foundation manages multiple other field of interest funds, donor advised funds, and specifically designated funds that may continue to support a wide range of other programs, projects and initiatives outside of these priority areas, including arts, culture, parks & recreation, college awareness and preparation, scholarships, etc.


Other Areas of Interest

  • Early childhood issues and challenges
  • Food, housing, clothing, medical care and basic necessities for those disadvantaged members of our community
  • Year-round access to healthy foods and necessities
  • Coordination of efforts aimed at providing basic necessities to school-aged children and a more systematic effort at aiding these support systems year-round
  • Programs, projects and initiatives targeting the entire family: their well-being and their success in life and their ability to contribute to our region’s growth and prosperity

In addition to making outright grants, the Foundation is currently engaged in the following key initiatives:


Tourism