In 2011, CornerStone was launched when a group of faith-based leaders sensed a vision to become more involved in under-resourced communities. They engaged in a number of “informational meetings” with various agencies and nonprofits over the course of a year. As they engaged community leaders one thing became apparent—the need for dialogue, for sharing ideas and resources, for developing a comprehensive solution to challenges facing our communities.
Rather than start yet another nonprofit to provide direct services that in many ways were already being offered through existing agencies, the team felt that the best way to engage in community development and the plight of those less fortunate was by becoming relationally engaged with the neighborhoods, encouraging opportunities for collaboration among existing agencies and strengthening their organizational capacity, and by coordinating resources, both volunteer and financial, to serve alongside
And beyond providing assessments, training, and resources to existing service providers, the CornerStone team sensed a need to connect the philanthropic community to those agencies and nonprofits that are making a difference in their respective communities. To that extent, CornerStone will solicit funding from potential donors to underwrite the costs of providing consultant services and to offer capacity-building grants to qualified agencies and nonprofits.
In the fall of 2011, CornerStone began the incorporation process in the State of Alabama and in December hired its first executive director, Derek Lane, who officially began employment in January of 2012.
In February of 2012, CornerStone partnered with the Community Foundation of Huntsville, AL to establish an account for its support through a donor-advised fund.
During this same month, CornerStone set up its first office in the Yarbrough building in downtown Huntsville, AL. This building is also home to the Community Development Department for the City of Huntsville, AL. CornerStone’s office is strategically located in the heart of Madison County and downtown Huntsville to engage community leaders and stakeholders.
On April 20th of 2012, the CornerStone Initiative formally opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce.