President’s Blog: Passion + Community = Impact
Thomas Friedman famously wrote that PQ (Passion Quotient) + CQ (Curiosity Quotient) = IQ (Intelligence Quotient). If you ever get the chance to hear him speak on this, take full advantage; it’s captivating and energizing.
With apologies to Mr. Friedman, I’d like to offer a variant for community foundations.
The equation reads the same (PQ + CQ = IQ), but with a twist.
PQ = Passion Quotient
Let’s leave PQ as is.
Passion is mandatory at every level of the CFMC. From the board to program officers to senior leadership to admin, everyone brings passion to work every day. This is driven by a recognition that our work in developing philanthropic assets, partnering with individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits, responsible and exciting grantmaking, each year making scholarships to hundreds of first-generation college goers and deep involvement in local issues will make a remarkable difference in the lives of Monterey County residents. All of us share the passion. And, given the list above, how could we not?
Our CQ is “Community Quotient”
While creativity is certainly in the mix, our CQ is an understanding of how Monterey County is woven together.”
Its politics. Its people. Its economy. Need. Its past, present and future.
When I get together with fellow community foundation CEOs, it is amazing and reinforcing to experience their CQ (and their PQ!). Each seems to have an intuitive aptitude on how to connect people to people, resources to need, organization to organization…all pieces of a puzzle that gets to the heart of problem solving and addressing the most pressing community needs.
Monterey County: Opportunities and Challenges
CQ is especially important in Monterey County. Exceptionally beautiful and blessed with some of the world’s most fertile soil, Big Sur, Monterey Bay, the rolling hills of South County and a mild climate…these are all assets which have drawn visitors, allowed for the creation of an enormous agriculture industry and produced great prosperity. Yet we all recognize that not everyone is prosperous.
The cost of housing can be prohibitive, forcing multiple families to cohabitate. The mild climate contributes to the number of homeless. Big Sur suffers from over usage. We’ve had major fires. We also have by my count 12 mayors, just as many city managers, jurisdictions, taxing districts, police forces, many more school districts, etc. Layer onto to this the number of unincorporated communities (all of North County!) and the challenges of sorting all this out, let alone creating initiatives that cross all the jurisdictional lines, and the importance of CQ becomes starkly evident.
Four years ago, the CFMC embarked on a behind-the-scenes journey to better understand how homeless services were being delivered in Monterey County. It was driven by the same emotions all residents feel when they see Chinatown, encampments in Laguna Grande, folks standing on street corners asking for money and the data coming back from the homeless census. Our PQ drove us to improve our CQ. We didn’t fully understand funding streams, HUD mandated structures, the lack of jurisdictional coordination. And to be clear, everyone was working hard. That wasn’t the problem. We sensed there was no overarching vision driving a set of solutions, and, not surprisingly, a lack of resources.
What, then, is IQ? Impact Quotient
It’s not enough to have passion. It’s not enough to know how communities fit together. It’s not enough to simply inspire philanthropy or have grant programs that make the same grants each year.
The true litmus test of effectiveness is to bring these elements together and create impact, to change circumstances, structures, policies, and, at the end of the day, people’s lives.”
Collaborating on Homeless Solutions
The landscape of homeless services in 2019 is much different than four years ago. The City of Salinas and County of Monterey are working hand-in-hand on the development of a year-round homeless shelter. They are also coordinating on bolstering existing services and building out new programs. They’re operating from a shared vision. On the Peninsula two nonprofits have come together to develop a shelter in Seaside (the county is providing the building). When the State recently created the HEAP program that provides major financial support, Monterey County homeless service agencies were in a much better position to define projects and deploy funds effectively.
PQ led to enhanced CQ which in turn elevated our collective IQ.
CFMC: Part of the Equation
The CFMC has similarly engaged with agencies involved in affordable housing. We’re an integral part of the Complete Count effort for the 2020 Census. Our work with the College Futures Foundation ignited a passion for scholarships that required elevating our CQ. The IQ is that in four years we grew our annual scholarship totals from $275,000 to $1.4 million and growing.
It’s hard to think of a greater Impact Quotient than facilitating the ability of Monterey County young people to attain a college degree. The list goes on, and we hope it continues to grow.”
What is your PQ? I invite you to link it to our CQ. Together we can grow our collective IQ.