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Three local volunteer organizations will push ahead with efforts to make Columbus a more welcoming community despite the loss of a coordinating manager.
Columbus Young Professionals, Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization and Leadership Bartholomew County until recently had shared a manager, Kristen Munn, who recently moved to the Heritage Fund, the county’s largest foundation.
Munn’s position, the first paid position for the three groups, had been funded by the Heritage Fund and paid through a two-year pilot program. It was the result of a series of studies, dubbed the Community Leadership Development Process.
The pilot program also made clear that the community needs someone to connect people and organizations, according to Tracy Souza, president of Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. For example, when a local organization wants to highlight the culture of Pakistan or get a perspective from young professionals, they called Munn, because she has deep roots in various community organizations as a result of the work the pilot program funded.
Munn’s position with the three organizations will not be filled, but she said they all have capable boards and members who were accomplishing their missions and also had an interest in expanding their impacts in the community.
Early on it became clear all three wanted to get people more connected: CAMEO wanted to get international residents to integrate, CYP wanted to get young professionals involved and LBC’s role included connecting local residents in new servant leadership roles.
Munn’s role evolved into connecting local organizations and people, Souza said. As is typical with a pilot program, responsibilities evolve, she said.
Munn also said her new position with the foundation, which will include making the community more welcoming, will lend itself to future collaborations with all three groups. In her new role as community grants and outreach manager, she will serve as the foundation’s main contact for grant requests.
Leaders of the three groups praised Munn for her contributions and said they will miss her input; although, they hope she will continue to be involved with them.
Thomas A. Sobat, board president of LBC, said Munn made insightful suggestions on improving LBC. She proposed, for example, that LBC partner with the Institute for Coalition Building to start a new course that will teach participants the community’s leadership values, its distinctive and unique stakeholder concept and the coalition building process.
CAMEO President Rocio Rodriguez said she appreciated Munn’s assistance, especially in continuing to expand the organization’s network. Rodriguez said that CAMEO will revert to its previous structure, in which the board secretary will take up most of Munn’s
Brooke Hawkins, past president of CYP, said her organization knew Munn’s assignment was temporary and prepared for her eventual exit. Munn had taken on some projects that CYP volunteers, because of time constraints, could not do. And while Hawkins said she worries that some of those issues will not be addressed, she said the organization’s day-to-day operations will continue as usual.
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