10 Questions with Libby Richards - Senior Community Programs Officer, Triangle Community Foundation

What does a typical day look like for you?

Everyday at work is a little different. I spend a lot of time meeting with local nonprofit representatives or community members, answering questions by phone or email about one of Triangle Community Foundation’s grant programs, or reading grant proposals. Since I work for a regional funder, I may start my day at the office in Durham, head to a lunch meeting in Raleigh, then join organizations for a gathering in Pittsboro, and meet friends to eat dinner in Chapel Hill. I consider myself a Triangle enthusiast! When I’m not working you might find me at the Scrap Exchange, where I volunteer and serve on the Board, at the YMCA taking one of their awesome classes, or at home in Durham with my husband and two cats.

What are you working on right now?

Professionally, I’m working to further develop the Foundation’s grant programs in our Youth Literacy Focus Area. This means doing research on community needs, reviewing successful grant strategies in other communities, and talking with service providers. Personally, I’m doing some renovations in my kitchen to bring it into the 21st Century.

What was your path to get where you are today?

My mother and grandmother gave me a passion of giving back to the community. I feel like I’ve always volunteered for one organization or another. While in school at Converse College I participated in the Bonner Leader Program, where I served a community center in Spartanburg, SC. After graduating, I led a similar Bonner scholarship program at Wofford College. Upon moving to the Triangle in 2007, I was hired at Triangle Community Foundation to manage scholarship funds and my role at the Foundation has evolved over the years.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

As the community changes and grows, so must the work of a Community Foundation. I’ve learned that just when I feel like I’m getting comfortable, it is time to reflect, evaluate, and re-configure.

How do you effectively balance your time?

Balancing my time is not something I’ve mastered, but I’m working at it. I try to set manageable goals for the work week or day. I’ve also set my phone to not “push” email notifications to me after work-hours which has helped me unplug from the office when I’m at home.

What are five tools you use on a regular basis?

Toothbrush, coffeemaker, the google, computer, and cell phone.

What is the best career advice you have been given?

Challenges are opportunities for growth and learning. Things are going to get easier, because you are going to get better at doing them.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired everyday by the stories of the work of our local nonprofit community. The Triangle is full of passionate people that are helping to others and make this region the best place to live.

Why do you do what you do?

I’m lucky enough that someone has paved the way for me to do all the things I do, and I just want to make it easier for others to do the same things in the future.

Who should we interview next?

Sarah Mann Willcox, NC Network of Grantmakers
Tabitha Blackwell, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Youth Forward

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