Skip to content

POV: What Does It Mean to Be Great?

(Spoiler: you'd qualify by my criteria)

POV: What Does It Mean to Be Great?By Jill Bennett

If Coretta Scott King was right when she said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members,” then I can’t think of any community in any time that is greater than our own, the nonprofit community. We’ve cornered the market on compassionate actions. Let’s take a brief—and well-deserved—self-congratulatory lap to note just how special we really are.

Nonprofits are a part of our lives from birth to death, and just about every step in between. Each year, nonprofit hospitals in Utah deliver tens of thousands of babies. Organizations across the state provide resources, childcare, and education to young families. Our fellow nonprofits search for cures for diseases and measure the likelihood of avalanches. They tirelessly advocate for clean air, water, rivers, trees, and even rocks. (Well, given the pace of the final week of the Utah General Session, “tirelessly” may be an overreach. Let’s go with “unrelentingly” instead.) They protect the heritage of those of us who can trace our history to pre-Columbian times and those of us whose families arrived thousands of years later. They shield, shelter, and safeguard our bodies, lives, and our constitutional rights when we are beleaguered or under duress. Animals in need of care? Yes. Horses, hawks, dogs, cats and so many more furry, feathered, or scaly creatures find refuge in nonprofits. Our work in the arts inspires, connects, and entertains us. And when we are grieving the loss of the people we love, there is a nonprofit that will step up and provide support, comfort, and real compassion.

We are pretty darn cool. And yet, we do not get our full due. That’s both on us and not on us—all in the same breath. We tend to live in our little organizational silos, fighting private battles against resource limitations and ever-evolving organizational priorities. Imagine what we can do, what our impact could be, if we joined forces to really help each other—even just a little bit. Join me in that “imaginary” journey. (Yes, while it is in fact a real journey, I'm inviting you on a journey of the imagination here.) Together, we could not only support each other through the day-to-day questions and little a-ha moments, but we could also foster real connections and amplify our voice as a collective—as a strong and unified community.

For UNA, this journey starts next week with the first in our series of Executive Director Conversations and Coffee, followed by our next Nonprofit Reception in Springville. Join us for these free meetups! It’s how we make community. It’s how we get our due.