Letter From the President
Science, technology, engineering and math – academic disciplines collectively known as "STEM" – have many things in common.
They are an important foundation of our community. The Dow Chemical Company is, at its core, a STEM company and its employment of thousands of people with STEM education is one reason Midland is what it is today.
By extension, that STEM company founded by my great-grandfather, Herbert H. Dow, is what provided the resources to build The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation into what it is today.
Throughout our history, but especially this past year, the Foundation has worked closely with other area organizations to help strengthen the region’s STEM educational offerings.
Among the many things STEM disciplines have in common is the importance, in each, of measurement. How much, how fast, how far, how long – every science, engineering or math problem involves some form of measurement.
Measurement is also important to what we do. Every project on which we partner, every grant application we receive, is carefully measured and evaluated. First, of course, to ensure that it aligns with our mission. Does it deepen, enrich or make more rewarding the lives of people in our community and our state? Does it enrich lives, in all the ways we "measure" enrichment – religiously, philanthropically, scientifically, culturally or educationally?
But there are several other ways we measure the success of a program with which we work:
Sustainability: How Long? Will the good work continue after we’ve offered our support? This highlights a key role for us. We’re not just a grant-making foundation. We’re also a guide, advisor or coach – helping organizations build programs that will last years beyond a single grant cycle.
Capacity Building: How Much? This is the difference, philanthropically, between a handout and a hand up. We measure our grant recipients by their ability to leverage our assistance. This may be through matching grants that challenge them to raise matching dollars. It may also be through offering organizations help in planning and executing their own fund-development efforts.
Collaboration: How Many? We know that one organization – even one person – can make an enormous difference in the world. But as resources grow tighter and needs grow larger, it’s critical to maximize our resources and concentrate our efforts where they will do the most good. We encourage collaborative opportunities among nonprofits, the private sector, government and other organizations to find synergy and complimentary strengths.
But while we try to scientifically "measure" the work done by our Foundation and our partners, we know that, ultimately, the impact made on the community is something that cannot be measured. Nor can our gratitude toward people like you who help make that work happen.
Whether you are a trustee, staff member, volunteer, donor, recipient or partner, I thank you for your commitment to our community – and to keeping alive the spirit that led Grace A. Dow to start this Foundation eight decades ago. I look forward to a continuation of our work together to improve the quality of life in our community – immeasurably.
Macauley Whiting, Jr.