More than passion and mission, it takes incredible effort to secure a nonprofit’s survival. Issues of funding, leadership, resources, volunteers, and sustainability often hang in the balance for many nonprofit directors and boards. And while those of us at NeighborLink have been elbow-deep in the nonprofit world for more than a decade, we’ve yet to get to a place where navigating through any of those things is easy.
Since first venturing out in 2003, our purpose has never wavered. We’ve always been focused on awakening neighbors to the needs of those around them, and throughout our first decade, that mission was sustained by the generosity of our volunteers and donors.
But by 2013, our eyes had been opened wide. We had felt and seen the overwhelming depth of need around us, and our ability to meet those needs was only made possible by the overflowing goodness of foundations like AWS Foundation, Brotherhood Mutual, Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, Foellinger Foundation, and M.E. Raker Foundation.
In the last 12 years at NeighborLink, we have been profoundly affected by each person or organization that has crossed our path. Our volunteers share insights that challenge and inspire us. Our team and board members move forward in a unified vision. And our funders walk alongside us—both literally and figuratively—as we strive to stay true to our mission of helping neighbors help neighbors. We humbly recognize that without the financial support of our funders, our mission could not carry on.
The Foundations throughout Northeast Indiana stand as a bulwark of hope for so many within our community. As relentless champions to thousands of volunteers and organizations, their behind-the-scenes work rarely demands notice or acclaim, but it all plays a pivotal role towards changing the ways we collectively think about disabilities, about empowerment, about leadership, and about our future. At NeighborLink, we believe those who have intersected with our own mission might describe hope by pointing to wheelchair ramps, packed moving boxes, rides to a doctor’s office, warm and dry homes, and new friends who offered untethered help. And so much of that is only possible because of the support from our Foundations.
As we’ve secured more grant funding throughout the last few years, we’ve begun to wonder more about the stories of each foundation that has chosen to support us. So we reached out to five of them and asked if they’d share a little about their own missions, their goals, and their visions for the days ahead. Not surprisingly, we discovered that we often share the same struggles, and we were reminded that this pursuit of a strong, vibrant community is something that ought to never be a solo endeavor.
It takes all of us, and we’re ever grateful for the partners who journey along with us.