Community Spotlight: Grant Tribble

In this issue of Legacy, we would like to honor Grant Tribble as he moves on to new opportunities as the Executive Vice President of the Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Grant has been a part of the AACF Board since its inception and most recently served as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair. His wisdom and hard work have been invaluable in helping the Foundation grow and contribute to a stronger Athens. We asked Grant to tell us a bit about more about his time on the board and some of the lessons he’d like to share from the experience.

1) Tell us a little bit about your background if you will and your connection to the Athens area.

I was born at Athens-Regional years ago. I kind of grew up in and around Athens and went to UGA from which I graduated in 1985 with bachelor’s degree. After college, I was in the Army for a bit and then worked in Atlanta. I came back to Athens in 1997 where I worked for Athens Regional from 1997 to 2013.

2) How did you come to be involved with the AACF? What initially drew you to the organization?

As part of our life in Athens, my wife and I were involved in a lot of different community activities including the Partners for Prosperous Athens project, out of which grew the Community Foundation. At the time, Judge Jones was putting the Charter together and deciding who he wanted to be on the board. He called and asked me to join. That’s really how I got involved. Steve asked me to join and we’ve been friends for so long I couldn’t say no. During that same time, I had also been the chair of the United Way, and we talked often of endowment building. I had been thinking a lot about how to create sustainability, and the Community Foundation seemed like exciting work.

It was the focus on sustainability and the idea of a legacy to continue great things in the community that drew me to it. Athens is a very giving community, but there are also a lot of funding needs. I’ve always thought it would be great to have some sort of organization to step back and look at the community from a less myopic stance, to focus on broader connections and longevity. Economic development and growth in the community have always been interests of mine.

3). One of the dominant messages AACF underscores on its website is “We Are Here For Good, For Ever.” What does this message mean to you in the broader context of AACF’s mission?

Well you know, I think when you look at the mission, it’s not just specific to one area; it really is looking for “the greater good.” There are a lot of organizations in the community that do the same thing, and I’ve often wondered if that’s because people don’t have the space to step back from their everyday work and see the bigger picture. It’s important to work towards improvement for tomorrow, but we also need to look towards the long-term future. What are we going to be in 10-12 years? How will the university, business, and the philanthropic communities be involved? What will we determine to be the needs, and how can we raise money through grants and partnerships to truly meet those needs? Building relationships is one of the most valuable assets that the Community Foundation provides.

4) You’ve gotten an incredible opportunity and will be moving to South Dakota in January. As you reflect on your time with AACF, what is the most important lesson you’ll take with you? And, what are you most proud of?

When we went into this we were kind of looking through rose-colored glasses. Soon after we started the Foundation, the economy took a turn for the worse, but the resiliency of the board was strong. While the board is diverse and each member has a unique way of communicating the message, at the core, we all share a common belief in the value of the work and the mission. The board experience has really strengthened the relationships I have with other board members. I learned a lot about how to look at things differently. I think everyone in the room was there for a purpose, the purpose of creating sustainable good in the community. I grew professionally and learned a lot from just being a part of a group that stuck to its goal even during hard financial times. Ultimately, we felt that we needed to be true to what we started and to get the message out there. The experience serves to remind me that there is great strength in numbers and diversity. I hope to look back in ten years and see the work continue to grow. I feel proud about the work that we did during my tenure.

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