Nationally, this week is recognized as Community Foundation Week in celebration of the vital role that America’s more than 700 community foundations play in job creation and training, education and economic growth. Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. In 2011, they gave an estimated $4.2 billion to a variety of nonprofit activities in areas such as the arts and education, health and human services, the environment and disaster relief.
How do those numbers break down on a local level? You might be surprised.
* In 2012, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies managed more than 460 funds that awarded $3.7 million in grantmaking and scholarships.
* We helped to initiate the launch of dozens of programs, including a community growth project to reduce urban blight and develop community gardens, a robotics competition for local students, an arts advocacy program, a high-priority occupations outreach, a youth leadership seminar, a volunteer engagement event for nonprofit organizations, a regional sports and recreation facilities analysis and environmental initiatives to develop trails, energy efficiency and biomass opportunities.
* We continued to support the growth of existing partnerships with mentoring groups, wealth advisers, school districts and others.
* And in a time of economic downturn, we received $11.9 million in donations, growing our assets to more than $50.2 million.
That simply cannot be done without donors such as you.
The Community Foundation recently engaged in strategic planning to guide the next few years. In doing so, we gleaned statistics that verified what we already believed to be true: That our region is extremely generous. Among our peers, the Community Foundation ranks among the top in gifts per capita.
This year, we have been especially busy working in close partnership with local donors, charities and civic leaders to address the issues that residents in Bedford, Cambria and Somerset counties live with every day.
Together, we are making a difference. Moving forward, we plan to have an even bigger impact.
Our goals include measured growth of programs and assets; expanding our role as a leader in the community; increased visibility; and strengthening our internal operations in order to accomplish these objectives.
To learn the specifics of our plan, visit our website, www.cfalleghenies.org, to read it in-depth.
Community foundations serve as strategic partners to local governments, bring the right players to the table to invest, take risks where necessary and plot a course forward for our communities.
Because we live where we give, we are able to help donors invest in the issues that are most critical to our residents. When we make a grant, it helps people you know, not individuals you are just hearing or reading about for the first time.
Our resources come from people who want to give back to the community where they live – and, more importantly, that they love.
Jerry Hudson is a Community Foundation for the Alleghenies board member and chairman of the foundation’s strategic planning committee. He is a senior vice president at Concurrent Technologies Corp. in Richland Township.
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