Community Foundations: Community Stewards
Though your Community Foundation has been here since 1998, we know there are still a
lot of people who don’t really understand who we are, what we do, or how we do it.
The primary purpose of community foundations is to promote and facilitate philanthropy
– to provide a convenient and knowledgeable bridge between donors and charities, and to be responsible stewards of funds invested in communities through the foundations. They act as catalysts for the betterment of their communities by working with a wide variety of
partners…partners who realize that strong communities are built by people who make a
conscious investment of time, talent, and resources.
The first community foundation was established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Today,
there are over 750 community foundations in our nation, with Indiana proudly boasting 94 of
those! Many of Indiana’s foundations were established during Lilly Endowment’s GIFT (Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow) initiative in the 1990’s, including your Community Foundation of White County.
Community foundations generally are defined geographically, e.g. the Community
Foundation of White County. However, each Foundation also brings a national network of
expertise to local communities through its connections to other community foundations. If we ever have a question, there are over 700 foundations willing to help provide answers or ideas and the legal resources to back them up!
Your Community Foundation is led by a Governing Council composed of White County
residents. At the same time, as an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, we have access to expertise, a larger investment pool, and valuable administrative resources provided by the Lafayette staff. Truly, we have the best of both worlds!
All funds within community foundations must be used for the charitable purposes and
are, in fact, protected by law from being diverted to other causes. Funds are given to the
community itself through the Foundation and its representatives, and the Foundation is legally charged with being a responsible and accountable steward of those gifts. It must always honor the original charitable intent of the donor; so, for example, a fund established to benefit the arts or education or a specific charitable entity will always be used to fulfill that purpose.
Community foundations are permanent entities, designed to serve communities both
today and tomorrow. Funds are endowed, ensuring that communities will still benefit from those resources 25, 50 and 100 years from now.
There are many ways to fulfill your charitable passions. If you would like to find a way
to benefit your community and/or your favorite charity, either now or in the future, contact
Community Foundation Director Leslie Goss at 574-583-6911 or log onto www.cfwhitecounty.org for more information.