The Devil’s in the Details

Community foundations are not easy organizations to understand, though we are always striving to make it so. As of this writing, the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley (CFGV) has 85 separate funds. Each fund has a different purpose, and each was established by separate individuals or groups. The total combined assets of all of these funds make up “CFGV’s assets.”

CFGV has grown from $1.65 million in assets at the end of 2007 when the two local community foundations merged to over $12 million today. Over those 18+ years, CFGV contributions back into the community have totaled more than $9 million – from community grants, from donor advised funds, from agency endowments and more. During 2020 alone, CFGV’s community impact of “dollars out our door” totaled $895,258.

Donor intent is paramount, and we are honored to have the trust of so many donors to steward a variety of unique funds. We would not use funds from the Gunnison Memorial Scholarship for CFGV’s Community Grants program. We would never use the Skateboard Alliance Fund for our operations. 85 funds = 85 specific (or broad) purposes to benefit our Valley.

While these 85 separate funds total over $12 million and arguably serve the many facets of our community as pieces of a whole, their collective dollar figure can be misleading.

We hold five active scholarship funds. Three local nonprofits house their endowments with CFGV. The local 4-H program has a designated fund.

Did you know many kiddos donate part of the proceeds from their livestock sales back to the Nadine Henry 4-H Forever Fund? Have you heard of the Gunnison Valley Education Foundation? It’s a fund at CFGV that’s very active in awarding Teacher Innovation Grants to local classrooms. And then there’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. That program is made possible by our Early Childhood Literacy Fund.

These are just a few examples of the myriad types of funds CFGV stewards.

And, of course, CFGV has donor advised funds (DAFs), which community foundations are most known for. These are setup by individuals, families, businesses, or sometimes service clubs (take, for example, both of our local Rotary Clubs).

In the case of DAFs, the donor advises the use of the fund. Some have restrictions for an area of interest; animal welfare or youth, for example. Others have certain nonprofits to which they give on a regular basis. And a few look to our staff to make suggestions about where their dollars are needed most. We house a total of 36 DAFs, and they collectively add up to over half of CFGV’s total assets.

Sometimes it feels a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, coordinating and choreographing the various fund purposes to match community needs. Other times, CFGV plays the role of sounding board, working with someone who cares to honor their charitable wishes. And all the time, CFGV is actively fundraising for our own operations and our own programs, like Community Grants… because 98% of that $12 million is meant to be put to work outside of our organization. Some is meeting today’s needs with today’s dollars, and some of it is setup to be permanent with annual distributions, ensuring there is a reliable funding stream for community causes for generations to come.

If you have questions about CFGV assets, funds or programs and initiatives, please don’t hesitate to ask. Our goal is to be transparent while protecting donor privacy. With CFGV as your community partner, everyone can be a philanthropist – whether you have $1 or $1 million to give away.

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