Since I first I came through the doors of the Community Foundation as a new hire, and I’ve loved every minute of my job helping to share the stories of the great things our grants are supporting in the Fox Valley, and the generosity of donors here in the community.
In my life before the Community Foundation, I have to confess I was blissfully unaware of what this organization does and the lives it touches. Our challenge on a daily basis is to help those who ask this very good question:
What exactly is a community foundation, and what does it do?
Think of us as a bridge between donors and communities of opportunity. We’re here to strengthen the Fox Valley for current and future generations by helping people make a difference in the lives of others.
Simply put, we do three big things:
- We accept and prudently invest donations.
- We award grants to nonprofits.
- We act as a convener to spark discussions on needs and new initiatives.
There are 750+ community foundations across the United States, with the first created in 1914 in Cleveland. Worldwide, there are more than 1,800 community foundations in 70 countries. Most foundations were created in the past 25 years. In the Fox Valley, ours came to be in 1986. It’s a great story!
This week we had the opportunity to share how we strengthen our community during one of our quarterly Navigating Your Community Foundation grantseeker workshops. Attendees learned about the different types of funds, and where that grant money from the funds goes.
Why give to and through the Community Foundation?
People in the area have many giving choices and ways to give back, but a local community foundation has that local wisdom and awareness of the specific needs and new initiatives you may not be aware of.
We’re also connected with hundreds of local nonprofit organizations, funds and donors who are looking to improve the quality of life in your backyard.
Community foundations have the staff, board and committee members who care about the things you care about, and who give that personal service and advice you often can’t get with a phone call to a national organization in another state.
If you’ve never been to one of our many workshops, we’ve got many opportunities to get connected! I particularly recommend Navigating Your Community Foundation & Charting a Course for Grantseeking workshops.
Here’s a great video explaining more on our Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region:
Check out this vintage video from the late 80s, The Enduring Gift, in which co-founders Walter L. Rugland, Art Remley and Paul Groth, (all now deceased) explain their reasons for establishing the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region: