The world of philanthropy is an ever-changing environment, mirroring the changes in our world. and our very own Longmont Community Foundation aspires to be a propelling force of innovation in the field.
And this Foundation is doing a remarkable job meeting that noble goal. Meeting with Eric Hozempa, CEO of the foundation was like meeting with a caring, reflective and energetic friend as he opened the door to help me understand the drivers that make our Community Foundation such a locally committed organization.
With pride and ease he revealed that the foundation sees its role to ‘support the local heroes,’ by elevating and bringing awareness to the great work in our midst. Eric sees their role as connectors, and exercises his leadership role by showing up with methods that are ‘innovative and a little something different.’
They are paving a new road and, in the words of Eric, ‘breaking down the sacred cows,’ of traditional ways of doing grants and philanthropy. One shining example is HOPE Direct, a program initiated by Eric when he read an article showing the success of getting funds directly into the hands of those in need. HOPE Direct channels funds directly from benefactors to payment for essential services for homeless clients participating in HOPE’s programming.
Another pioneering move is the flexible to change and stream-lined process of grant applications and awards. When creating their applications, driving considerations are questions like, ‘Is this efficient for our applicants? Are the required fields direct and simple?’ Eric explained that they understand how nonprofit agencies are always shouldering heavy loads of deadlines and reports. In light of this they want to provide an easy way to receive funding for valuable work, not a system that demands excessive forms and tedious reports.
The organization has grown dramatically from 320,000 in 2012 to awarding more than 2 million in 2019, 2020 and 2021! They have even exponentially grown their scholarship awards resulting in 86,000 in support for qualified applicants.
Another quality of the Longmont Community Foundation that really makes Eric’s eyes light up when sharing is, ‘we want to be approachable and personable.’ The world has become increasingly complicated, sometimes it can be impossible to get a human voice on the other line when needed, and yet in our midst our Longmont Community Foundation realizes the influence they can bear by such personal service to what Eric endearingly calls, ‘our local heroes.’
It seems we have many local heroes to celebrate.