chapter  16
Gulf Coast Community Foundation: From Conversion to Transformation
Pages 12

There is a saying in our field that “to know one community foundation is to know one community foundation.” The unique character of each community foundation can be attributed to the distinct identity of the communities we serve and to our individual origins. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation began as a “hospital conversion” foundation that has developed into a creative and innovative anchor institution in our region. The best path to tell our story starts with our origins, when our DNA was transmitted through the controversial sale of a regional nonprofit hospital into a community foundation formed with that sale’s proceeds. We will describe our contentious birth, because knowing who our “parents” were will provide some insight into how we think and why we have taken the actions we have. We will then journey through a course of challenges and changes. These will illustrate how a hospital-conversion community foundation that began with a big endowment and simple grantmaking functions matured over more than a decade and a half into a transformative foundation that is seen by many as an anchor institution for our region. Finally, we will examine impending issues that we think will alter the future of community foundations in exponential ways.