No community foundation should ever consider changing their technology and back office software decisions without competent counsel.
When our foundation was stranded in the middle of an incomplete conversion from FIMS to Blackbaud, we contacted Dave Lindberg, Chief Financial Officer of the Council of Michigan Foundations. Dave recommended that we contact Dick Myers of FIS.
Dick responded to our call for help in January 2014 without any hesitation and turned our chaotic project around. We were faced with an incomplete data conversion and reconciliation and insufficient training. To add to the overall challenge, the Finance Director was due to retire within 8 weeks.
The FIS team dug in a set a plan to reconcile all of the converted financial and grant data from FIMS to Blackbaud. Then, FIS directed the final closing of FIMS while bringing Blackbaud Raiser's Edge, Financial Edge and Fusion Labs' GrantedGE live.
They trained our new Finance Director on community foundation best practices and the new suite of software. FIS continued to literally hold our hands for six months until we were able to operate on our own.
We will continue to solicit counsel from FIS when we need advice on operational issues or technical decisions.
Holly Johnson, President and
Patty MacDonald, Director of Finance, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
FIS has provided numerous types of consulting services to Foundation For The Carolinas for more than 25 years. During that time, FIS has worked closely with the senior staff of the foundation to develop effective technology tools, operational procedures and business strategies that facilitated our growth from $22M to over $1.1B in charitable assets.
FIS understood the vision of donor advised funds in 1987, long before the concept became a prevalent tool for serving donor needs in community foundations. Using techniques that were developed for pension plans, FIS created a quasi-mutual fund accounting system allowing individual foundation funds to participate in multiple asset pools. The percentage of a fund’s participation in a pool could be structured to meet the needs of each type of a fund's growth and liquidity requirements.
Dick Myers, President of FIS, has been an invaluable member of the foundation team as we have addressed the enormous challenges of growth and transition to five different offices and three different back office software systems since 1987. Dick not only understands the technology tools required to meet the foundation's business needs, he has a thorough knowledge of the underlying business operations that are the behind the scenes prerequisites.
Deb Watt, Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Human Resources, NC
When I was hired at the San Antonio Area Foundation, I had no experience with community foundations or the Blackbaud and Fusion Labs software.
FIS trained me on industry processes and operational best practices so I could support the staff of the foundation. I also needed to learn MS SQL Server Management Services and MS Visual Studio so I could work with the behind the scenes support of our some software applications. We had and still have training sessions on SQL Server Reporting Services and report design. FIS helped me learn the intricacies of the Blackbaud and Fusion Labs SQL tables so I could work independently.
Today, I am self sufficient in these areas because FIS provided me with the basic training and information I needed to be valuable asset to my co-workers at the foundation.
Whenever I get stuck, I can call FIS and work through a solution. FIS still works on projects that need to be resolved.
Jason Mata, Information Management Officer, San Antonio Area Foundation
I have worked with Dick Myers for more than 10 years in his volunteer service to the FIMS User Group he founded in 2001 and as a member of the Technology Committee of the Fiscal And Administrative Officers Group.
Greater Houston Community Foundation processes large numbers of donor-advised checks. When we contemplated making changes to our check printing processes, we contacted Foundation Information Systems to discuss how our foundation could adopt pre-printed signatures on checks that were in production at Foundation For The Carolinas for more than 10 years. The project began with a on-site interview with each of the staff involved in the grant approval process. The project not only included the steps necessary to adopt a revised check printing process but included the addition of check logos for individual client grant checks. The new check process resulted in needing only two check stocks instead of six special pre-printed checks for several special client relationships. Adopting a recommendation to make the grant approval process more efficient will provide increased bandwidth to handle more grant applications without additional staff.
The ultimate result was a very happy CEO who no longer has writer's cramp.