I worked at Marguerite Casey Foundation full-time
MCF is one of the few foundations that believes its' grantees know more about their communities and what is needed in them than a foundation headquartered thousand of miles away. MCF puts this belief into practice by awarding general support grants. The grantee then decides what is the best way to use those funds. This is a unique strategy that empowers local organizations. Instead of a MCF employee knowing what is best, MCF demands that its staff learn from the grantees themselves what their local needs are and then respond to those needs and not to the beliefs a staff member may hold about what is "truly" needed in a specific community. As a former staff this approach was very challenging because it meant I had to put my ego aside and learn from those who had boots on the ground. As challenging as that may be, I learned alot, met dedicated people and was provided the logistical support needed to get the job done. The generous salaries, benefits and a funded retirement plan that did not come out of my pay check was just icing on the cake.
If you want to be a foundation star or want constant recognition for the work you complete on behalf of MCF this is not the place to work. If you cannot implement the foundation's mission because you want it to be something else, this is not the place for you. I found ideas are welcomed but if my idea was approved I had to implement it and could not delegate it to other staff to complete. This may be a con for some but for me it was part of the committment to the foundation's mission. The challenges are constant because you have a small staff, limited resources, a progressive mission, and new programs and projects sprouting up around you. This meant keeping up with a changing environment and recognizing that sometimes good ideas have to wait because there are other priorities or the resources are already allocated elsewhere. This can be frustrating if you believe your idea is greater than the foundation's mission.
Advice to Management
Keep doing what you are doing. I found the "mean girl" comments in other MCF reviews about female management at MCF sexist and reflective of a "Mad Men" mentality. There are still persons that cannot accept women in leadership. The Board of Directors demands excellence and enjoys being "wowed" by a staff presentation or report on their work. But it is not a Board that welcomes medicority. The Board should continue to demand stellar work as they now do.
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