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Leading a community foundation through a pandemic, Talitha Nelson CEO GCF



Talitha Nelson joins Purposely Podcast to share her leadership story as CEO of the Gloucestershire Community Foundation.


Talitha describes the enormity of the challenge faced by people in the UK in the early stages of the pandemic. How her foundation and the 46 other community foundations across the UK played an instrumental role in getting crucial support and aid to people in need.


Talitha talks about surviving and thriving as a leader during this time and how the pandemic brought people, businesses, funders and charities together to fight a common enemy and serve the needs of the community. Talitha believes this experience will change the face of the sector in the future, from silo thinking to collaboration.


So what is a community foundation, it is a ‘tax-exempt, nonprofit, publicly supported philanthropic organization with the long term goal of building permanent, named funds, for the broad-based public benefit of the residents in a given area.’


A brief history, started in North America…


Community foundations in the United States boomed in the 1920s as the concept spread, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. By the end of the 1920s Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Rhode Island, Buffalo and dozens more American cities all had their own community foundations. In the 1930s community foundations faced a difficult period of decline during the Great Depression, when resources were scarce and the banking system was in difficulty and disrepute. In 1931 the first Donor Advised Fund was established by a community foundation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Community foundations are now a global phenomena.


Talitha has developed a real passion for community foundations, although you will hear how she started her career in retail, 8 years working at fashion legend Karen Millen, ‘This set me up for a life of success in business, working with founders Karen & Kevin, a true iconic British premium brand’ Talitha has also worked in senior roles in the hospitality sector, owning her own hotel at one until she discover the charity sector and what she describes as ‘A truly fulfilling role as the CEO of the Gloucestershire Community Foundation, where we bring people who care together with the most disadvantaged within our community, influencing and driving change for those who really need it'