Blog: Newsletters

Community Foundation Update - October 2017

From Charlottesville to Las Vegas, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and now the California fires, it has been a devastating couple of months. The Council will continue to activate our support networks and national reach to provide greater scope in backing the community foundations in affected areas. Should you desire to learn more or understand how you can help, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Countless community foundations have mobilized to direct funders and DAFs to support these disasters. Most have utilized our own field to direct that support, recommending donors make grants directly to the community foundations in impacted communities. Thank you for uplifting your peers in these instances.

The Council stands with our philanthropic sector in doing all it can to respond, recover, and move our communities forward. Please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can help—on this or the everyday issues that arise at your Foundation.

Also, please don’t forget to take a close look at the North American Community Foundation Summit. If these past few months have taught us anything, it’s that we are much stronger together as a field—learning and connecting with our peers across Canada, U.S., and Mexico.

We each share common struggles and a shared vision for community philanthropy, and this summit proves to be one of the most cost effective, diverse, and dynamic learning platform the field has experienced in years. Learn more and join us Feb 5-6, 2018.

Brad Ward
Director, Community Philanthropy

Miss a previous community newsletter?

Check out last month's here.

Community First Foundation’s Noah Atencio Named 2017 Scrivner Award Winner

Noah Atencio, Vice President of Community Impact for Community First Foundation in Arvada, Colorado, was awarded the 2017 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, one of the most prestigious honors for innovative grantmakers. His nomination was based on his leadership in the creation and promotion of The Innovators Society, which funds promising, but not yet proven, approaches to mental wellness. Atencio’s efforts have led to measurable growth of five mental wellness innovations in the Denver area, and the creation of a 512-member network committed to accelerating new solutions for mental wellness. Learn more.

Latest Disaster Info: Need to Know

Many community foundations (CFs) have responded to recent disasters. Learn more about the state of affairs, their approach to responding, and how you can help mobilize your most engaged donors to help, increasing their commitment to you as a steward of giving.

COF Member Story in Brief: Louisville to PR

With telecommunications reporting less than 35% effective several weeks later in Puerto Rico, and 90% of the island still without power, connecting with the staff of Community Foundation of Puerto Rico (PR) proved challenging.

But the Council was able to connect a staff member at the Community Foundation of Louisville with leaders at Community Foundation of Puerto Rico to allow a Louisville nonprofit, Waterstep International to get connected with them as they were on the ground in PR to provide invaluable water systems in disaster situations.

Countless other important connections were made through Harvey, Irma, Maria, and incidents in Charlottesville and Las Vegas. The power of the Council as a national network, holder of critical federal relationships, and ability to activate a broad reach and range of funders was fully demonstrated these past few months.

Thanks to our members for making our work possible.

Disasters. What to do?

Even if your community was spared devastation, there is good reason to have a plan for how you might immediately respond in any given disaster.

Advise: A robust discussion with staff and the board can help map out your desired role and first steps:

  • Will your foundation establish a fund or direct donations elsewhere?
  • Who should be on your contact list? Key staff, board members, NPO leaders?
  • Do you have cell numbers for those important contacts in an emergency?
  • How quickly can you communicate/accept online gifts for a fund?
  • What will be your most likely approach to fund distributions—any limitations?
  • Will you assess a fee and if not, how do you cover the administrative shift in resources to support the response and recovery?

Jennifer Barahona, ED at Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation shared: 

“In the immediate, the most important thing that they can do is to be extremely clear on who funds are meant to help. That one issue has been the single biggest challenge for us and one that has caused permanent fractures in our community… Donors should select if they want funds to go to victim compensation or to support other things like survivor care – both physical and emotional – in the short or long term. This will save massive headaches down the road. There are far more things to sort out but in the early hours, this issue is the most critical.”

For important lessons and preparedness:

Offer Donors a Powerful New Tool This Giving Season

Add a searchable directory of the nonprofits in your community to your website. GuideStar Local Nonprofit Directory installs in just minutes and allows donors to find individual organizations or identify those working on specific issues. Extensive nonprofit profiles let donors identify the nonprofits that best fit their giving priorities. GuideStar maintains the profiles and technology behind the scenes, allowing you to devote your resources to the important work you do, instead of hardware and database maintenance. Learn more.

3 Ways to Pitch a Corporate Partnership for #GivingTuesday

From our partners at Guidestar:

The biggest giving month of the year is right around the corner. In fact, about a third of all giving happens in December. To get the most out of your December, kick off the month with a killer #GivingTuesday campaign. And to get the most out of your #GivingTuesday campaign, partner with a corporation. Here are three ways to pitch a corporate partner for #GivingTuesday. Read more.

Advanced Giving for Giving Day? It works.

It's typically a 24-hour intense period of giving, yet Seattle, Omaha, Texas, Colorado and Minnesota are all utilizing “advanced giving” to give donors and nonprofits more flexibility to make the most of Giving Days. For the North Texas Giving Day, 15% of gifts came in that week while the rush of Giving Day itself remained strong.

As Susan Swam Smith, Chief Giving Day Officer at Community Foundation of Texas reported:

“Scheduled giving gave nonprofits some extra time to host Donations Stations or other events – if the Thursday Giving Day date didn’t work for them. And, while the platform is available anywhere in the world on Giving Day, it gave donors who were concerned about their ability to give on that particular day a bigger window.”

In the case of North Texas Giving Day, a few stats and noteworthy conclusions:

  • Early donors had an average gift larger than all donors ($282 vs $253).
  • They were slightly less inclined to cover the fees for the nonprofit.
  • They gave to slightly fewer organizations than all donors.
  • They accounted for 15% of our giving and 15% of our gifts.
  • 1,400 early donors (12%) came back to make a gift on Giving Day itself.

Upcoming Events

  • Nov 12-18 - #CFWeek
  • Nov 15 – Legal Webinar: Gearing up for Year End
  • Dec 5-6 – CEO & Trustee Retreat
  • Feb 5-6 – North American Community Foundation Summit

Future Events: Save the Dates | Budget Considerations!

  • April 11-12 – Public Policy Summit – Philadelphia, PA
  • May 16-17 - CF Excellence: Finance course – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • May 23-24 – Economic Prosperity: Southern Philanthropy (SC)
  • June 28 – Legal Matters Convening – Milwaukee, WI
  • July 24 – Legal Matters – Raleigh, NC
  • Aug 22-23 – Economic Prosperity: Midwest Philanthropy (MN)
  • Sept 12-13 – HR Summit, Denver, CO
  • Oct 14-16 – Growing Community Foundation Conference, Wichita, KS
  • Fall - Endowment and Finance Summit, New York, NY
  • CF Excellence – Fundamentals course (Denver, March 7-9 | Baltimore, July 18-19)
  • Community Foundation Excellence – Affiliates online course

We’re grateful for the support of our partner GuideStar, Inc.