What is a community foundation?

January 11, 2016

The standard response is a community foundation is a vehicle for people of all means to make a lasting difference in their community.

Its purpose is to serve the needs and philanthropic interests of donors who wish to better their community, now and in the future. Community foundations do this by providing donors with flexible, efficient and tax-effective ways to ensure their charitable giving achieves the greatest impact.

This is not your parent’s community foundation anymore. Although working with donors to fulfill their charitable pursuits is paramount, the community foundation’s role has expanded from one of primarily managing the assets of donor funds and making grants to public charities to one of community leadership.

I believe community foundations by virtue of their diverse board composition and staff’s understanding of community assets and needs are best suited to lead the sometimes difficult discussions that bring about positive community change.

In March of 2014, we posed a simple question to a conference room of community leaders, “Where should the Foundation invest its resources?”

And with the help of a consultant, we started an 11-month, sometimes tumultuous, community conversation on ways to improve economic development in Richland County. 

We are excited about 2016 as we begin our five-year investment plan to improve our county’s workforce, business retention and expansion efforts and offer resources for business scale-ups.

Brady Groves, Richland County Foundation president

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” 

― Stephen R. Covey

 

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