Nonprofit people create and sustain the organizational capacity of nonprofits. So there’s a natural connection between organizational “capacity-building” and what Fund the People calls “talent-investing” (intentionally deploying capital to support and develop nonprofit workers). In our continuous effort to capture the value that talent-investing offers to nonprofits and their funders, in this episode you'll hear the perspective of a funder who actualized this deep connection between a foundation’s capacity-building efforts and talent-investing.
Rusty sat down with Tom Fuechtmann, Senior Program Officer at Community Memorial Foundation, a health-focused regional funder in the western suburbs of Chicago. Fund the People profiled this foundation in our online Toolkit. You can get this and other Field Stories for free on our website.
This is the first in-person interview in the history of this podcast (since we began in fall 2020 during the depth of the pandemic), and we were together at the May 2022 national conference of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) in Chicago. At the GEO meeting, there was much discussion about burnout, sustainability, and thriving among nonprofit workers. This episode offers an important example of one of the GEO members who has proactively sought to support and develop grantee staff for many years before and during the current crisis.
This episode (S3:E6) examines Talent-Investing Principle #2: Nonprofit People are Bedrock. Dig beneath outcomes, outputs, activities, organizational capacity – underneath it all, you'll find nonprofit people. People are not “overhead,” they are the bedrock of organizational effectiveness. To learn about the Eight Guiding Principles of Talent-Investing, listen to Episode One of this season.
Resources from this episode:
Community Memorial Foundation
Center for Creative Leadership
Fund the People Field Story on Community Memorial Foundation
Tom Fuechtmann Bio:
Tom Fuechtmann is currently a Senior Program Officer of Community Memorial Foundation (CMF). Established in 1995, Community Memorial Foundation is a private foundation with a focus on community health improvement. Their geographic area includes 27 communities in western Cook and southeastern DuPage Counties in Illinois.
CMF’s mission is to measurably improve the health of people who live and work in the western suburbs of Chicago. In the past twenty six years, the foundation has distributed more than $60 million in grants to improve the health of our local community
Tom has served as a program officer with CMF since 2001. In that time, Tom has directed two of the Foundation’s strategic initiatives—the Youth Imitative aimed at improving health among young people aged 6-18, and more recently the Building Organizational Effectiveness Initiative aimed at building the organizational capacity of CMF’s grantees. Tom has given presentations at local, regional and national conferences on grantmaking and nonprofit capacity building.
Tom has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Loyola University Chicago and a master's degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.