Our relationship with the Foundation Center is vital to our ability to provide quality resources to the nonprofit community. Every year, the Foundation Center holds a conference for the supervisors of Funding Information Network partners (FINs), free of charge, so that we can come together from all parts of the country and learn about new tools and resources and also network with each other – hence, the name of the conference -- Network Days.
This year, Network Days was held in Chicago at two different locations on Oct. 5th & 6th. The first day our group of about 40 attendees were at the McCormick Foundation located on Michigan Avenue with a very lovely view of Lake Michigan. On the 6th, we were located at Forefront (formerly the Donors Forum) on LaSalle street. The second day was streamed live for participants who were unable to attend. Workshops included the unveiling of the newly rebuilt Foundation Directory Online with its new search interface – lots of color and a very clean interface that allows for natural language searching, behaving a lot like Google. We love it and think you will too!
We had a panel presentation that included the Managing Director of the Grand Victoria Foundation as well as the Senior Director of Community Investment at Conagra Brands Foundation, a talk by T. Sylvester John, a Foundation Center Trustee, and a fascinating morning workshop from ISPI on personalities and how people work best in their environments. There were award presentations including one for the CINRC’s milestone of 40 years as a partner of the Foundation Center and last, but not least an inside tour of the Harold Washington Library – an amazing place (10 stories tall and a block long) with a lot more than just books!
There was a workshop and overview of the new interface for the Foundation Directory Online. They have truly built an exceptional tool that is more user friendly than ever. Incorporated into the new look and feel are lots of visual displays for the data that makes it easy to assess the potential of a foundation as a giving partner for your endeavor.
Our hosts were generous, providing us not only with a registration-free conference, but with breakfast and lunch every day. And we all had a little fun on Thursday evening, enjoying an outing to Chicago’s famous German restaurant, The Berghoff, to savor hot pretzels, German beer and a live polka band. A good time was had by all and we are all richer in knowledge for nonprofit resources.
- Pamela M. Salela, CINRC Coordinator