Janet is the President of Old National Bank Foundation. Below, she shares how her background in human resources led to a fulfilling career in philanthropy. She also talks about her role as a community connector that is guiding organizations to be more strategic through an outcome-based approach.
How did you get started in this work?
I joined Old National Bank in March of 1988 and spent 17 years working in Human Resources. I loved HR and the opportunities it gave me to get to know and assist my fellow associates.
One of the most rewarding initiatives I was asked to help lead during my tenure in HR was the creation of a program that empowered our associates to volunteer and helped connect them with non-profits in need of their help.
When Old National CEO Bob Jones decided to create the Old National Bank Foundation in 2005, he knew of my background in HR and my familiarity with non-profits and approached me about becoming Foundation President. I wholeheartedly accepted, and I’m so grateful that I did!
What’s kept you there?
First and foremost, I truly love being an Old National associate. From our senior-most leaders to the individuals who staff our banking centers, everyone is focused on serving clients with integrity and strengthening the communities we serve.
And secondly, my position as Foundation President continually allows me to serve others and help find solutions that improve the lives of at-risk community members.
The word “philanthropy” means a love of humanity, and I’ve sort of amended that definition over the years to be “a love for others.” That’s what my job allows me to do: express a love for others through forging community partnerships.
What’s the biggest impact your organization has made this year?
Over the past couple of years, we have raised the bar as it relates to measuring outcomes. Not only has Old National Bank Foundation become more intentional and focused in our approach to asking for measurable data from our potential Foundation partners, we have worked to help those partners recognize the value to them of carefully tracking and measuring outcomes.
As a result, our grant requests are now more outcome-focused, and we mandate interim and final reporting from each of our recipients. While you might suspect our partners would view this as a burden, this has not been the case. Many have told us that it helps them shape a better strategic vision, which inevitably leads to stronger results.
What’s the most exciting thing happening in your sector?
I think we are seeing more members of Generation Y and Generation Z express a desire to become active in philanthropy and volunteerism. Compared to the Boomer generation, these younger individuals tend to be very inquisitive and more inclined to really want to get to know an organization and its mission before diving in.
This desire to dig deeper and fully understand an organization’s mission and vision complements our Foundation’s outcome-focused approach very nicely. I also think it is compelling everyone in the non-profit world to be more aware of outcomes and measurements, which makes us all stronger.
What talent or superpower would you most like to have?
I like to consider myself a connector, so if I were going to wish for a superpower maybe it would be Spiderman’s, or in my case Spiderwoman’s, ability to use her web to grab onto various things and pull them together. But I already have a super job at a super organization, which is really all anyone can wish for!
Do you have questions for Janet or ideas for collaboration? You can contact her at:
LinkedIn: Janet Heldt Baas
About IPA's Member Spotlight Series
Our members regularly tell us how much they value networking with other IPA members at our events, but that their busy schedules and broad geographies don't allow them to travel as much as they'd like. To connect more people in our network, we've launched our new Member Spotlight blog series. These blogs are written by IPA members who share their personality, purpose, and passion for philanthropy. By following this series, you can connect with peers doing work similar to yours and find opportunities for collaboration. If you're interested in being featured in our Member Spotlight series, please contact Lissa Silotto.