Giving back comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. For Michelle Maloy Dillon, making a difference in Boulder County has included sharing her talent in-kind.
Now an executive coach, Michelle was for many years a valued community partner of the Community Foundation – in particular, we grew to rely on her skill as a photographer to capture the impact and essence of the work of foundation grantees.
“For many years, I did the photography for the foundation’s TRENDS Report,” recalls Michelle. “While I’m no longer in that business, I really enjoyed having that unique view into various Boulder County nonprofits, and seeing all the great work that’s being done here. It was inspirational.”
Indeed, Michelle says she first thought of photographing the work of the foundation and its grantees as “an interesting project.” But then, “in time I became really attached to the foundation. I found great value in working with such great people, and in giving a voice to all the dedicated professionals working in nonprofits throughout Boulder County.”
After a while, Michelle – who moved here from Chicago some 20 years ago – became such an integral part of the foundation family that “everything became intertwined.”
“In getting to know the board and staff of the Community Foundation, I began photographing their family portraits, weddings, babies, and high school graduations," she says. "The blossoming of this interconnected work was just wonderful.”
Eventually, Michelle launched her own career transition, a shift inspired – in part – by her long and varied associations with the foundation. “As the years went by, I saw such wonderful examples of leadership in our county,” she explains. “Both in terms of the impact and influence of organizations themselves, as well as the persuasive presence of nonprofit leaders at events, speaking to donors, and so on.
“I became aware of the power of good leadership and increasingly saw myself supporting and developing leaders through coaching.”
Adds Michelle, “People who are in leadership positions often feel like they have a bigger calling than where they’re at right now. Often they have a very specific idea of what that calling is – but they don’t know how to get there, or how to embark on a new direction. That’s the kind of person I want to support – the dreamers and helpers.”
When it comes to lifting up people in our community from a range of backgrounds and experiences, Michelle takes her cue from the Community Foundation. “A key role of the Community Foundation is to first delve into the research – the facts – of what’s happening in Boulder County in terms of growth, housing, our environment, and more. And then applying that knowledge and information to address our community’s unmet needs. The Community Foundation ties it all together.”