Second Harvest Community Food Bank Blog
Donors use Community Foundations to Assure Nonprofit’s Needs are Met
One of today’s most powerful trends in charitable giving began in Cleveland, Ohio nearly 90 years ago, when the first community foundation was established. For decades, the number of community foundations climbed slowly, but during the 1990s, growth was exponential, and today there are more than 700 across the United States, with scores more around the world.
Ten of America’s community foundations are in Missouri and approximately 73 are in Kansas. They serve the regions they exist in. For example, the Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri, Inc. serves 18 counties in Northwest Missouri.
What accounts for the phenomenal growth of community foundations? Perhaps the most basic reason is that community foundations help people give where they live. Janet Topolsky, Associate Director of the Aspen Institute’s Community Strategies Group, says, “A community foundation, particularly outside a metropolitan area, is in touch with its community in ways governmental or large private entities cannot be. Because it knows its local area, a community foundation can readily facilitate a donor’s specific wishes, or help put the donor in touch with innovative, effective organizations the donor may not know about.”
Once established, community foundations can help existing nonprofits to build endowments, hold funds designated by donors for specific agencies and make grants to charitable organizations. Community foundations also have a mission to establish and increase flexible permanent funds that can be used at the suggestion of the donors to meet the needs of the community it serves.
In this regard, donors who want to see organizations like Second Harvest Community Food Bank continue long after their death can set up a fund at the Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri, Inc. that will continue to make their donation possible into perpetuity. Growing the philanthropic pie is one of the goals of all community foundations, which in turn builds community and provides ongoing charitable dollars.
Mary R Hinde,
President / CEO, Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri, Inc.
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