What is a community foundation?
THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION DEFINED
A community foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, philanthropic institution composed primarily of permanent funds established by many separate donors for the long-term diverse, charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area. Typically, a community foundation serves an area no larger than a state. Today, there are more than 1,700 community foundations around the world with 750 in the United States. Most establish permanent, named funds with the goal of endowment building to meet future community needs.
Each community foundation works in different ways depending on the community it serves. Underlying all is a commitment to our donors to help make their philanthropic dreams come true and to our nonprofit constituents to help build capacity with monetary and technical assistance and to be a leader or catalyst in our communities. We are here building endowments for the long haul – as we often say, Here for Good. We are also here to meet today’s needs with today’s dollars.
THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF THE GUNNISON VALLEY, HERE FOR GOOD
The CFGV helps people give where they live – or where their heart is, in the case of our generous part-time residents. We know our donors, financial advisors and nonprofit agencies well and can facilitate a donor’s specific wishes quickly and easily.
The CFGV works with donors to make their philanthropy match their passions. There are as many ways of giving as there are people in the Valley. And we welcome working with all. A donor may add $5.00 to our grant fund which helps fund our annual competitive grants cycle. Another donor may open a Donor Advised Fund to stay actively involved by making recommendations for distributions. Yet another donor may include the Foundation in their will, creating a legacy for themselves and their family that allows them to continue having an impact on the Valley long after they themselves are gone.
Finally, the Foundation serves as a community leader and convener. When issues can be addressed by inviting groups or individuals to come together to discuss a particular issue or when a facilitator is needed for a community meeting, often the Foundation can convene a meeting or facilitate/moderate one.
The diversity of our board members and the number of constituents with whom they are involved along with our nonprofit agencies help us identify today’s needs and watch for future trends. The Forever Fund, a community endowment, will address changing needs over time with local people making decisions about our own community needs. It is an empowering process for our donors, for our grantees and for our community.