Member Spotlight: Janet Heldt Baas, President, Old National Bank Foundation
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:
About IPA's Member Spotlight Series
Follow IPA's Member Spotlight Series to connect with your peers in philanthropy and find opportunities for collaboration. Blogs are written by members who share their personality, purpose, and passion for philanthropy. If you would like to be featured, contact Lissa Silotto.