Philanthropy Torch Pass: Community Foundation of Broward Announces New CEO
The Community Foundation of Broward announced Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D., as the Foundation’s new President/CEO.
The Community Foundation of Broward, an organization integral to helping solve problems in the county through research, advocacy, collaboration and philanthropy, has named a new President/CEO. The Foundation’s former President/CEO, Linda Carter, who served the Community Foundation for the past 23 years, will be retiring. The Community Foundation of Broward’s Board of Directors announced Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D., as the Foundation’s new President/CEO.
Lighthouse Point magazine sat down at the Lighthouse Point Yacht Club to get to know these two powerful and inspiring women. This interview has been edited for space and clarity.
Interviewed by Danielle Charbonneau
Q&A with Linda Carter, who has announced her retirement from role as President/DEO of the Community Foundation of Broward.
Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself and the Community Foundation of Broward.
My name is Linda Carter and I’ve been the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Broward for the past 23 years. I had the fortunate opportunity to take the foundation from a smaller, fledgling organization to what it is now.
The Community Foundation of Broward is a full service organization. We’re one of the top 100 community foundations in the nation, and we have tackled amazing issues in our community. We’ve grown significantly and we’re tackling the issues that are hard.
We are one of the first community foundations in the state to achieve national standards for accountability and transparency. We’ve grown to distributing 12 million dollars a year. It was just one million when I first got here. We now do, in one month, what we did all my first year. But I’m mostly excited about the impact we made in the community, and the leadership roll we’ve taken.
This is an interesting time in history for a transition in leadership. Can you tell me more about the timing of your retirement?
I announced my retirement all before the Coronavirus, and who knew that was all going to happen? This is a pivotal time to have a leadership transition. Now we have multiple issues hitting at the same time. It takes government, industry, nonprofits and citizens, all coalesced, to be able to address these. That’s what the Community Foundation provides.
I think it [the timing] will help make this organization more relevant than ever. It’s always been relevant, but now it will be enhanced and magnified.
Citizens have seen the value of philanthropy more than ever. There has been no other disrupter that we have faced as a community that affected everybody. It isn’t like Hurricane Andrew that just hit one pocket. This affected every person, every place, everywhere.
And people saw the nonprofit sector come to its own in that regard. They saw what they were doing — whether it was handing out masks, or childcare centers helping with food delivery. I think there is a renewed sense of the power of the sector to be a player in creating change. It’s not just government. We, as a community, can make the change we want. And philanthropy is a great way to begin that journey.
You are a South Florida native, born at Broward General Hospital. With the exception of your time away at school at the University of Florida, you have lived in Broward County for a long time. Thus, you’ve seen Broward County grow and change. What do you think have been the most striking changes in the county? What do you think have been the most monumental challenges and triumphs?
What I’ve seen over the last 23 years is that, as Broward County grows, it’s added to the complexity of the challenges. We’re not a sleepy little town anymore. Las Olas doesn’t close up during the summer like it used to. We’re year round. So it’s harder. There’s more challenges. And they are more interrelated and more complex. There are no simple solutions. But that’s because we are a vibrant, exciting community.
I can remember when I first got to the Community Foundation, when we would invest in cancer research, we had to send the money out of the area. And now we have major hospitals, major educational institutions, they are doing clinical trials. So we can invest right here in our local community. That’s exciting.
So the challenges and the triumphs go hand-in-hand. And the change, I think from a philanthropic standpoint, is that more people are calling this place home. Even though they came from someplace else, they now have said ‘I have chosen to be here because the quality of life here is so much more robust.’ We see philanthropy staying more local as opposed to going back home.
I can remember when I first got here, an estate planner said ‘Oh my gosh. I worked on so many trusts and wills this past month, and everything is going back to the Northeast. They don’t see this as home.’
That has changed dramatically. You’re seeing more people say, this is where I live. This is where I work. This is where I raise my family. I’m going to invest in this community.
When you started working for Community Foundation of Broward 23 years ago, there were only about four staff people, and the foundation was not quite giving out $1 million a year. Now, in 2020, the foundation has 16 professional staff, 22 members of the Board and annual grants reaching $12 million. The foundation has distributed $120 million since its inception. The foundation has a $3 million operating budget, $1.5 million in operating reserves, and $4 million in dedicated operating endowment. The foundation also has $222 million in assets in 473 unique funds, of which 90 percent are endowed (exceeding the national average of 68 percent). The growth and success of the Community Foundation of Broward is inspiring. What top factors do you think have contributed to this success?
Those are all great numbers. And they do demonstrate growth. I think they also demonstrate the commitment to our community. I think they demonstrates the trust in the work we do at the foundation. But, most importantly, it is evidence that we are doing the right things. But what’s most exciting is what we’ve done with it.
The fact that we’ve taken the charge on aging out of foster care and put a spotlight on that issue when nobody was working in that area. The fact that we were the very first community foundation — and were the first funder in Broward County — that embraced HIV/Aids prevention and education. And that was even before I got here!
So being an agent of change is in our DNA. And that has never wavered. That’s what we are all about — making that kind of change in our community.
There’s lots of tools in our toolbox. Advocacy is part of that as well. It’s not just writing grants and checks, it’s the leadership role we serve in the community. For example, to be able to rally around and get the community behind the reauthorization of the Children’s Services Council, which produces 60 million a year, each and every year, in our community. We could never fill that void if that would have gone away. And we were delighted to be the entity that led the charge to get the community to rally around that.
So the numbers are good, the growth is good, but the real story is what do we do with it — the impact we are making in the community.
In addition to the areas of advocacy you just mentioned, the Foundation has been a pioneer in advocating for the LGBT community. Can you tell me more about that?
It was literally my first month on the job. It could have even been my first week. A friend of mine called me up and said, ‘You know, we want to create a body of funds on LGBT issues. Do you want to do that.’ I’m like ‘Sure.’ And so we did that. We did the research, we found the issues that were affecting the LGBT community. We went out and raised funds specifically to address that issue and put a spotlight on that. And we showcased that in our newsletter.
I remember, it was our first newsletter, and I got a piece of hate mail saying, ‘I don’t know. Why are you doing that?’ This was back in 1997. ‘Why are you even doing that? This is not right. And I’m never going to support the Community Foundation.’
I looked at it. I called my chairman. And we both laughed and said. ‘Well, we don’t need that person to be a part of the Community Foundation. We’re doing what’s right for our community. We are a community foundation serving the total community.’
And so I’m very proud of that. Because we’re doing the right things and we’re not afraid of tackling the issues in our community.
From what you’re telling me, it sounds like the Community Foundation of Broward has been ahead of its time in tackling issues. Would you say that?
You’re absolutely right. We try to be. Because all of these issues are bigger than we alone can tackle. You cannot change anything until you bring awareness — and so the first strategy is to raise awareness. We are a wealth of information on what’s going on in the community. We share that and get other people alarmed over the same trends we’re seeing, and then we create coalitions.
We have 400-plus different kinds of funds. We work with our fundholders to tackle those issues. We get partners. United Way has partnered with us on many things. The Jewish Federation has partnered with us on many things. The Jim Moran Foundation has partnered with us on many things. Children’s Services Council also.
So we network private funders, public funders, and the business community. We all get working in the same direction. You can make some momentum if you don’t care who gets the credit, and you just work for the right thing. That’s really been in the DNA of the Community Foundation, even before I got there.
I used to have a false understanding that the Community Foundation was just about raising funds. But it sounds like you also do research, advocacy and promote collaboration between organizations. It sounds like you are the connecting entity — the center of many spokes.
Isn’t it funny, one of our board members, General Monroe, actually made that analogy years ago. Kind of like a hub. He drew a little diagram with spokes and everything. So you’re absolutely right.
We have the added advantage, too, in that we don’t represent any one issue. For instance, aging. If an organization whose focus and mission is on aging issues, if they were trying to raise awareness, some people might look at that and say, ‘Well of course they’re going to say that because that’s their mission.’
The fact is that we can say the same thing, and people will go ‘Oh, it must be true.’ We recognize that’s part of our value proposition to the community, and so we are very strategic. We’re not going to say the sky is falling if it’s not. But if there are issues and opportunities to make this community better, we’re going to broadcast that. We’re going to work on those things. We’re going to celebrate those successes for the community.
This is where I grew up. I’m going to leave it a better place than I found it. And I think that’s what we all strive for.
What avenues do you use to inform the public of the important issues?
We do a couple things. We print research. We might commission reports and studies, and then we work with the media to help get that information out. We host forums and town halls, and we bring community leaders and philanthropists together to raise that awareness and to tackle it. We do grant programs to invest in pilot programs to begin to move the needle. And then we share what we’ve learned.
Those are the best ways to advocate and to get people to pay attention. And it’s repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating. I think today’s consumption of information makes it harder. Trying to figure out how people consume information. Different ages consume it differently, and it makes it all the more challenging. But I think it’s exciting.
What are some of the greatest or hardest lessons you learned during your time as CEO?
What I think I have learned is that change is hard. When you think about our work, it’s getting people to change their behavior. There’s some great books on how you get people to change their behavior. But it doesn’t happen overnight. How many years have we learned how people shouldn’t smoke cigarettes? But sometimes they still smoke.
So getting people to change behavior takes dedication and commitment, and for those of us that want to see results all the time, really fast, it’s having patience. I’m learning to have patience every single day. But changing behavior takes time, and a lot of different strategies, but eventually we can begin to move the needle.
The Community Foundation of Broward currently has named 10 Issues That Matter. These 10 issues are key to ensuring a better future for the community. These issues are the focus of the Foundation’s grantmaking and leadership. Those 10 issues include: animal welfare, dignity in aging, art of community, eco Browar, BFit, economic independence, Broward pride, school is cool, cancel cancer, and youth work. Are any of these ten issues the nearest and dearest to your heart? Why?
That’s a great question. Probably dignity in aging. My mom lived to a wonderful age of 94 and she had a wonderful quality of life, but she was able to do that because she had children, and they wrapped around her and we made sure she didn’t suffer through challenges that a lot of older people do. You know Broward County has the highest population of 85+ in the nation. At a certain point there’s diminished capacity. And if you don’t have children to wrap around you, then how do you handle those issues that your life faces? And so, that’s probably one that is near and dear to my heart.
But I gotta tell you, I love them all…They are all so important. And I think what we saw with the Coronavirus now, is the interrelationship of it all. It’s all connected.
How did the ten issues that matter come about?
About three or four years ago we stepped back from the work we were doing and our grant making and asked, ‘Are we being strategic? What’s changed in our community?’ We did an environmental scan. We did that with a combination of community round tables. We reached out to thought leaders. We did interviews with experts in various fields. And put that all together.
We also looked at where there was not a lot of other folks playing. So, for instance, with school is cool, which is about education, we focus on middle school because in our research we learned there’s a lot of folks who are working on reading by third grade, and a lot of folks around the high school and graduating seniors to help them get onto college or career ready, but nobody was focusing on middle school.
So that’s a perfect example. We combine national research, we do an environmental scan locally and we look to see where we could be the most impactful.
If you were to increase the list of ten issues that matter, to a dozen issues that matter, what would number 11 and 12 be?
I would have to say I would be challenged to come up with an 11 or 12, because that’s the most interesting thing about the ten issues that matter. They really are the fabric of the community. It’s hard pressed to read the newspaper any single day and not see those issues bubbling up. But I’m sure I’ll think of some good ones on my car ride home.
In an interview with Fort Lauderdale Illustrated in 2017, you told the story of Margaret Roach. You said she was a real leader in the African-American community who came to you to create a small fund with Community Foundation of Broward. She asked you “Well, what should I make my fund be about?” You responded, ‘If you could create a magic wand, what’s important to you?’” You then proceeded to help her leave a legacy for African-American boys in middle school who get peer pressured to do bad. Her money has been put to that use for more than 10 years. I want to now ask you the same question you posed to Roach. After your decades of service helping others to leave lasting legacies, if you had a magic wand for Broward County, what would you do with it?
I think the magic wand for our community is the power of collaborations. We must stay vigilant on organizations working together — where you can say 1+1+1 = 10, not 3 — so that we magnify the impact of our roles. I think that would be what I would want. It [collaboration] is there, but it could be better and stronger, where government, business, community groups and the nonprofit sector are all at the table together.
Oftentimes collaboration sounds easy, but it’s very hard work. It usually means people have to step away from their ego. It means they oftentimes have to step aside from their timelines. Sometimes they have to step away from an original strategy and morph and adapt to a better way. And that’s why collaborations are so hard. It’s so easy to say, ‘Oh well, I’ll just knock it our myself. And just do it.’ But it’s probably not as effective.
So, I’d say more collaboration. And pride. I think more people are calling Broward County home, but I would like to see greater pride in the community.
What are your plans after retiring?
Travel was big on that list. Now, not so much. Now maybe some home improvement. But my husband now says ‘Now that you’re retired, do not be giving me that big honey do list!’
Q&A with Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D, who will start as the Community Foundation of Broward’s new President/CEO on August 17th.
Please introduce yourself and give us a quick synopsis of the career path you’ve taken. How did you arrive at this new opportunity?
I’m Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson. I have been a resident of Broward County for 21 years. In my time here I earned a Ph.D from Florida Atlantic University. I was the Chief of Staff to the President of FAU. I became the CEO of the United Way of Broward, and then I went back to FAU as a Vice President, and then became the Vice President of Advancement and Community Relations at Nova Southeastern University.
What interests me in this roll was that it actually pieced together elements of all of my jobs in the last 20 years in kind of a perfect way. In fundraising. In community impact. Collaboration and engagement. Economic Development. Each of those has a roll in the Community Foundation.
As I went through the process of interviewing for the job I kind of went through a personal journey of really figuring out what I wanted to do, and where I could find my next professional roll to be personally and professionally fulfilling. And where I could perhaps have an impact. So this role just seemed like it was my destiny.
Since 2013, you served as Vice President of Advancement and Community Relations at Nova Southeastern University where you led the university’s first capital campaign, which raised $267 million in philanthropic giving and is currently the largest capital campaign ever done in Broward County. Tell us more about this accomplishment. What strategies did you use that were successful? What lessons did you learn during this campaign that you think will particularly benefit your new roll as President/CEO of the Community Foundation of Broward?
A few things. One: we had a clear plan of attack. We had an operating plan. We had delineated rolls for volunteers, staff and academic leadership. We identified the most critical needs of the institution and how we could build compelling cases for giving. So how would philanthropy improve that area? Would it enhance research? Would it enhance the classroom experience? Would there be a better facility? So I think we were able to clearly identify how philanthropy will improve or enhance a portion of the university.
I think the clear plan of attack. The clear rolls and responsibilities. The identified areas of giving and how philanthropy would be impactful. And I think using research, data and analytics, which is hard. It is really hard for you to force yourself to do research, to look at numbers, to manage your database and to use that kind of information. You really want to go on your gut instinct, but you really need to use the systems and data. So we added that as well.
It was the first time the university had ever had a campaign. So, everything we did was for the first time. So it also required a lot of internal education and communication. So we didn’t rush that. We tried to make sure we were doing a lot of training and awareness and messaging for our own folks to understand. Those are the things we focused on that I think will have a lot of application here [at the Community Foundation of Broward].
The last thing is we also focused on endowed gifts. A traditional campaign is usually focused on a building, or a piece of equipment, or a new piece of land, or adding a new program. So it has a beginning and an end, and there’s something visible or concrete from it. But with this campaign, one third were endowments. This had never been done for NSU.
Here [at the Community Foundation] we’re building an endowment for the whole community. So I think it’s taking what I learned [at NSU] and layering it on a community wide platform.
In addition to the professional roles you already mentioned, you have also volunteered for, and sat on the boards of many Broward nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, PACE Center for Girls and Funding Arts Broward. Obviously you have had a heart for philanthropy, service and social change for a long time. Where do you think this heart comes from? What drives your passion?
Oh my parents. My father is a retired Presbyterian minister and my mom is an early education, special education teacher. So our whole life has been, I hope, about thinking of others. Being embedded in a community. Giving service to others. Thinking of others. And living a simple life so that could happen.
I have two great roll models in my parents. I think that my work ethic and my integrity, and my care and compassion for others, I hope, comes through. And if it does, I attribute it to my parents.
I can remember back to five. Maybe four. When you leave church you know the minister stands out front every Sunday. As soon as we could be on our own, the Sunday school teacher would say ‘Jennifer you can go.’ And I would go and stand with my dad and shake hands.
And then I remember my mom started a tradition on mother’s day. She would go to the florist and buy buckets of daises and buy bolts of ribbon and we would sit the day before mother’s day and tie bows on hundreds of daises. Our family would stand and hand out daisies to the members of the congregation. These are just little things. I was five years old and we did it every year.
So my father, in a way, did it on a big scale, with an entire church and the mission work. And then my mother did it on a very personal scale, with her own family, as a teacher with her students and with finding her roll in the church. She would find simple ways that we could touch people’s lives. And my dad would do it on a bigger scale. For me there was magic in that. I hope it’s in my DNA.
You are a 21-year resident of Broward County. What changes have you seen in the county in that time, for better, or worse?
One of the things that struck me when I moved here from Tampa was the diversity of people and the intensity and energy and pace — the pace at which this community and people and traffic and discussions move was like warp speed to what I was used to in Tampa.
So over the past 20 years that’s just exacerbated. So I would say the diversity and the intensity and pace at which our community moves is still something I’ve seen increase even more.
Something I’ve also seen grow is the dichotomy of the rich and those who don’t have enough. I feel like as you look at the community, the wealth has increased, but the poverty has increased. And the fact that we have such a wealthy community but 50 percent of our kids go to Title 9 schools that provide free breakfast and lunch. To me, that’s a gap. That’s increased a lot and that’s always concerning to me.
Another improvement has been the love of the arts. I feel as though the arts community has blossomed here, and in very unique and creative ways. Sort of non-traditional ways.
And I think the recognition of the environment as something important to our hearts and to our pocketbooks. Especially in the boating community. It has an economic and a health connection as well. I think we are progressive in that. I think the business community recognizes the value of sustainability of the environment and the oceans, from both the pure conservation perspective, and the economic value.
As I asked Linda before, are any of the ten issues that matter nearest and dearest to your heart?
I would say I am struggling with aging parents right now. I am facing that. So for me, the concept of aging dignified, in an honorable manner, having the support services there — I feel really connected to that one, because I’m living it with my parents. And I also think about Linda’s point, about having the highest rate of people over 85 in the nation. And we also have one of the highest rates of seniors living in poverty. So if you compound an aging population with people who don’t have the resources to age in place or get the medical care or food or medicine they need, that really complicates matters.
And then I would say, the arts. I think how we bring the arts back and how we fill the gap of not being able to experience art in the traditional way. I feel like that’s a real immediate issue for us because arts round out our lives. They complement the education process. They inspire us. And we’re not getting that. Or we’re having to seek it out in different ways. So I think at this time, that one speaks to me strongly, too. But all of them.
If you were to increase the ten issues that matter to the dozen issues that matter, what would number 11 & 12 be?
I think the issues of mental health and social justice. I think those are two prevalent things that we have to grapple with.
In 2018, the Community Foundation of Broward launched the Be Bold Leadership Campaign with the goal of raising $500 million by the Foundation’s 40th anniversary in 2024. $144 million was raised during the campaign’s first two years. Do you have strategy for accomplishing this goal by 2024?
Well that’s going to be my job. That’s the ultimate challenge. I think the strategy is to grow the outreach of the organization. How can we engage with more people in philanthropy and in supporting the Community Foundation of Broward? How do we use our volunteer network and our expertise and our issues that matter to share that countywide in a strategic way?
How do we develop more of an awareness here in Lighthouse Point? We just funded a project here in a park. So how do we help people know about that? How do we introduce the donor to the community? Maybe that would attract other people.
So I think we need a gradual and strategic method to expanding our reach throughout the county and speaking to the issues that matter in that particular area. So taking our work and our expertise and our platform and connecting it with that community. That would be one way. I think continuing to develop key partnerships across the county, providing expertise, I think that’s really a core of the Community Foundation.
And then perhaps finding new and expanded ways that we can be of service. With any organization there are different ways to expand the things that you raise money for and the ways that you do it. So I think there’s maybe different services that we can offer. Maybe expanded services that we can examine and look at as being helpful to the community and growing the base of support. I have some ideas. We’ll test them and see.
Also, how do we engage the next generation and let them know what the Community Foundation is? What’s the value of an endowment? And how can we start now? We have to build a pipeline of supporters for the future.
My first rule though is the Hippocratic Oath, to do no harm. I think the Foundation is doing so many things right. My goal is to maintain that and enhance it, to test and try new things, and see what sticks.
Why do you think charitable giving is so important at this moment in history?
So Alexis de Tocqueville came to the United States in the 1850s from France because the concept of democracy was kind of French — I guess the philosophers had written about it. And we were implementing it in the United States in a way that other people and philosophers and countries had talked about. So he came here to study American democracy and what was different about it. Was it working? Why?
He found in the 1850s that on the local levels, in communities, people were donating and con- tributing and helping their fellow brothers and sisters through churches and through services, and that they were doing that on a local level. Not governments, but people, were owning and caring for their communities. And he identified that as one of the differentiating factors of what made democracy work, and what made it unique in America.
I would say 170 years later, I think it’s still the same. For us, at this time, when governments are paralyzed and we are facing an avalanche of health, economic and social unrest — in all three — I think it’s philanthropy that is going to be the change agent.
More about The Community Foundation of Broward
Our mission is to provide leadership on community solutions, and foster philanthropy that connects people who care with causes that matter.
We envision a community where people feel connected and are actively engaged to make Broward better.
The Community Foundation of Broward must:
- Lead boldly
- Bring out the best
- Unite the community
Libby and Jack Deinhardt led a small, dedicated group of community champions who founded the Community Foundation of Broward in 1984. These Foundation pioneers understood that fostering strategic, local philanthropy would ensure a brighter future for Broward. They believed in the power of endowment to provide permanent resources able to tackle our fast-growing community’s emerging challenges. Thanks to their foresight and commitment, the Foundation has grown to more than 400 charitable Funds, which our Fundholders have used to provide more than $100 million in support for the place we call home.
The Community Foundation of Broward is a strong and stable organization as evidenced by a 35-year track record of tackling issues in Broward. This work is made possible because of 473 individuals, families and organizations that chose to create charitable Funds for game-changing impact. They believe it is critical to partner with the Community Foundation of Broward because of our reputation of leadership, credibility and success.
To learn more about the Community Foundation of Broward visit www.cfbroward.org. For more information, Like The Community Foundation of Broward on Facebook.