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Nonprofits in the Age of Spiderman

December 12, 2011

SpidermanThat’s my cute little nephew dressed up as Spiderman.  I love the feeling of power he feels when racing around the house in his costume.

Remember when Spiderman’s grandfather dished some advice to his budding superhero grandson? “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Sounds familiar and very relevant to this world of transparency we’re being asked to embrace. It’s a little scary, but we know it’s where the world is heading.

When donors invest their dollars in nonprofits–whether it’s $10 or $1,000,000–we are entrusted with great power.  Our promise goes beyond being ethical in our business practices and using dollars for the intended purpose. At the end of the day, it is our obligation to do everything possible to transform their investments into positive community impact and to let them know how we’re accomplishing that work.

That responsibility can be overwhelming at times, whether we represent a grassroots agency with a small budget or a multi-million dollar foundation. But telling our story is on our end of the deal.

We’re fortunate to live in a community with so much wealth.  In Sarasota County alone, the two largest community foundations in the state are making grants in the millions each year.  Together, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Manatee Community Foundationwith support from The Patterson Foundation–are answering the call for what donors want: knowledge about the charitable community to help them make more informed decisions about their giving.

Through The Giving Partner, we’re sharing our responsibility to be transparent and we are encouraging all nonprofits to step up to the challenge. By providing key answers to questions about management, governance, finances and programmatic impact, we are empowering donors with the knowledge they have been asking for.

As community foundation staff, we can rely less on what our personal biases and memories may convey about your organization, and more on what you’d like to share with donors–in your own words.  From your needs to your program successes, from your leadership to your strategy, your story belongs to you.  We’re so appreciative of the ambassador nonprofits who have taken this challenge and have some very compelling profiles in The Giving Partner to show for it.

From now until the public launch in Spring 2012, we’ll be hard at work with nonprofits to build a web of 100 profiles that will help donors and the community understand just how much we impact the quality of life in Southwest Florida.

Can we count you in?  A world of heroes waiting to invest in your nonprofit awaits.

-Susie Bowie, Director, The Giving Partner
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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One Response to “Nonprofits in the Age of Spiderman”


  1. Love the analogy. This sounds like a very important project. Thanks for all you do, Community Foundation.


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