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Values Lead to Decades of Kindness

In 2019, Choose KindAs I wrote at the beginning of 2019, “Choose Kind” remains front and center to every interaction and every thought in our day-to-day lives at Foundant. As we step into 2020, if we focus on applying kindness one day at a time, we can achieve a decade of kindness (approximately 3,652 days). This is an opportunity to kick start a 10-year stretch on the best note possible. To some, 10 years may seem like a tall order, but should it when we’re talking about how we interact with those around us? Keep it simple, take it one day at a time and one interaction at a time. Know that every time you show kindness, you are leading others to follow.

That said, some days are hard and life isn’t perfect. Sometimes we have to work hard to exude outward kindness. As I talked about last year, this is one reason I feel so proud to work for a company like Foundant and to be surrounded by the philanthropic sector. I feel like these environments, more than most, help support and remind all of us to take that extra step for kindness.

One thing that reminds me to Choose Kind is Foundant’s Values. Having, believing in, and following a set of values aligns team members to similar principles that in turn help guide our culture. I attended a session at a philanthropy conference in the Fall of 2019 where we engaged in discussions about establishing values and evaluating whether you’re holding true to those values and what that means for your organization. It was the perfect moment to think about Foundant’s Values and how those shape who we are and how we project that outside of our company.

They include:

  • Do the right thing
  • Do what we say
  • Have fun
  • Exceptional productivity
  • Enrich the philanthropic community
  • Commitment to continual improvement

These values were set at the inception of Foundant back in 2007 and they are our guiding principles when working with clients, partners, and one another. But values only hold true if they are kept top of mind and given transparency across the organization. Enter Foundant’s Cheers for Peers (or, C4P) program. My colleague, Suzie Boyer, describes this program here: 

The Cheers for Peers (C4P) program was born from the understanding of how important on-the-fly peer-to-peer recognition is to keep a team engaged with one another. A public shoutout says, “Hey I see you and, because of you, my life is in some way better.” This fits in perfectly with our focus on better lives. The C4P program was also a way to continually socialize our Core Values as the team continued to grow. The implementation of a company-wide tracking system took our homegrown C4P and made it even easier to tie these recognitions to our Core Values and also allows us to easily see what the team is excited about.

~Foundant Technologies

This recognition practice has been adopted across our company and is embedded in our culture. Putting a system in place took it to the next level, but the people are the driving force. Everyone… from President to Intern… takes it upon themselves to give one another the recognition that ties our growing team together. Check out just a few of our C4P shoutouts here:

Kelly Bryan was recognized for Exceptional Productivity by Taylor Garrity

I want to recognize Kelly for the work he has put in not only on his own migrations but also for going out of his way to help with onboarding Andrew. It has been a busy year for all of Foundant, with migrations being no exception. We are almost to 100 live migrations this year. Thanks, Kelly for being such a big help on our little team!!!

Margaret Owen Spiak was recognized for Commit to Continual Improvement by Heather Fust

CONGRATULATIONS to Margaret for achieving her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) Certification. She has been working on this during her "free" time and recently took the exam and successfully passed. This is well earned and well deserved and is an awesome achievement for Margaret personally, but also shows how we work to be experts to support and guide our clients.

Alyse Braaten, Nick Combs, and Daric Wickstrom were recognized for Do The Right Thing by Sammie Holzwarth

Emails with the subject line EMERGENCY are never fun to see, but definitely not fun on a holiday weekend. Big props to these three for digging in and getting a solution out the door so a client can still hit their target Universal Application go-live date.

Alli Hansen was recognized for Do The Right Thing by Elizabeth Gilje

#C4P to Alli for taking initiative this morning when the website was down. By 9am, she had already discovered the problem, identified what caused it, and sent a note to inform everyone. Thank you, Alli!

Aaron Spevacek was recognized for Enrich the Philanthropic Community by Dana Berggren 

At the request of the CSM team, Aaron shared best practices on collecting sensitive data in GLM and SLM (or, rather, NOT collecting it). I was able to turn around the very next day and advise a client to not collect banking information from grantees, and they started thinking about how they handle sensitive information on a larger scale. Big win for us and the client!

Marius Dereskevicius and Weston Paul were recognized for Have Fun by Elizabeth Gilje

Thanks to Weston and Marius for a great early morning hike up to the “M.” It was a beautiful morning and we had a solid turnout! Nice way to connect with some of our remote employees and others we don’t normally interact with.

Kase Cannon was recognized for Do What We Say by Sammie Holzwarth

I just got off the phone with our partners at ScholarSnapp who raved about how easy working with Foundant was as a vendor strategically as well as on the technical side. A lot of this falls on Kase who moved quicker than any other technical resource they have worked with to get fields mapped and ready to implement for programs.


Values can help you stay grounded and focused and provide a launching point for decisions and engagement with others. They go hand-in-hand with general kindness and provide us with a framework of how we want to work and live together. The start of this new decade is a perfect time to establish values, set goals, and live a life of kindness. We can each influence, and ideally change the world, one interaction at a time. How else can we make a difference if we don’t start today?

About the Author

Foundant Technologies has specialized in making philanthropy easier and more impactful through innovative software solutions and exceptional client experiences since 2007. Passionate about philanthropy, our team is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of grantmakers, scholarship providers, community foundations, and nonprofits to enable change-makers to make the world a better place for all.

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