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The Loop

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We need to give back

Posted on Feb 10, 2015, by

Even presidents and NFL coaches have to take time to evaluate how their team is performing, and we recently did exactly that at the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Our job is to manage, invest and grant out to nonprofits the charitable gifts people and organizations entrust to us, helping them make a difference in the lives of others, now and forever. We wanted to know how our donors thought we were doing, so we asked them.

We were pleased with the evaluation we received from the donors, but this survey also says something interesting about our community.

The survey asked our donors what their motivation was in making their first gift to the Community Foundation and compared it to similarly sized community foundations across the U.S.

Two perspectives  stood out:

Forty-six precent said giving back to the community was their motivation, compared to 38% for donors in our peer group. The other was 20% saying they gave to make an impact on a particular issue, compared to 14% for the donors of our peers.

What was the motivation our donors listed less frequently than others’ did? Giving to get a tax break.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mydoz5IR_QI&w=420&h=315]Our founder, Walter L. Rugland had the motivation right nearly 30 years ago when he was working to organize the Community Foundation. He compared it to farmers he saw as a youth in North Dakota. Now and then they would plow a field under without harvesting it and Walter wondered why. He was told that the farmers are grateful for all the land gives them and felt it was necessary to give back sometimes.

As Walter saw it, we experience such a great quality of life here, we can’t help but feel a strong need to give back. I don’t see that changing any time soon. The people of the Fox Valley know this is a special place to call home, and we will keep doing what’s necessary for it to continue.

Curt Detjen is President/CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. Email him at [email protected]

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