Editor’s note: In this excerpt, Heather Fust writes about putting values into practice through staff culture at Foundant Technologies. The full article was originally published on Foundant Technologies’ website and appears with permission


As I wrote at the beginning of 2019, “Choose Kind” remains front and center to every interaction and every thought in our day-to-day lives at Foundant. As we step into 2020, if we focus on applying kindness one day at a time, we can achieve a decade of kindness (approximately 3,652 days). This is an opportunity to kick start a 10-year stretch on the best note possible. To some, 10 years may seem like a tall order, but should it when we’re talking about how we interact with those around us? Keep it simple, take it one day at a time and one interaction at a time. Know that every time you show kindness, you are leading others to follow.

That said, some days are hard and life isn’t perfect. Sometimes we have to work hard to exude outward kindness. As I talked about last year, this is one reason I feel so proud to work for a company like Foundant and to be surrounded by the philanthropic sector. I feel like these environments, more than most, help support and remind all of us to take that extra step for kindness.

One thing that reminds me to Choose Kind is Foundant’s Values. Having, believing in, and following a set of values aligns team members to similar principles that in turn help guide our culture. I attended a session at a philanthropy conference in the Fall of 2019 where we engaged in discussions about establishing values and evaluating whether you’re holding true to those values and what that means for your organization. It was the perfect moment to think about Foundant’s Values and how those shape who we are and how we project that outside of our company.

They include:

  • Do the right thing
  • Do what we say
  • Have fun
  • Exceptional productivity
  • Enrich the philanthropic community
  • Commitment to continual improvement

These values were set at the inception of Foundant back in 2007 and they are our guiding principles when working with clients, partners, and one another. But values only hold true if they are kept top of mind and given transparency across the organization. Enter Foundant’s Cheers for Peers (or, C4P) program. My colleague, Suzie Boyer, describes this program here:

The Cheers for Peers (C4P) program was born from the understanding of how important on-the-fly peer-to-peer recognition is to keep a team engaged with one another. A public shoutout says, “Hey, I see you and, because of you, my life is in some way better.” This fits in perfectly with our focus on better lives. The C4P program was also a way to continually socialize our Core Values as the team continued to grow. The implementation of a company-wide tracking system took our homegrown C4P and made it even easier to tie these recognitions to our Core Values and also allows us to easily see what the team is excited about. – Suzie Boyer, SHRM-CP | Company Culture & HR Manager

This recognition practice has been adopted across our company and is embedded in our culture. Putting a system in place took it to the next level, but the people are the driving force. Everyone from President to Intern takes it upon themselves to give one another the recognition that ties our growing team together.

Values can help you stay grounded and focused and provide a launching point for decisions and engagement with others. They go hand-in-hand with general kindness and provide us with a framework of how we want to work and live together. The start of this new decade is a perfect time to establish values, set goals, and live a life of kindness. We can each influence, and ideally change the world, one interaction at a time. How else can we make a difference if we don’t start today?

To learn more about putting values into practice, listen to NCFP’s webinar Family Philanthropy: Tying Grantmaking Practices to Shared Values.

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