What is a Community Foundation?

A community foundation is a tax exempt, non-profit, publicly supported philanthropic organization with the long term goal of building permanent, named, component funds, for the broad-based public benefit of the residents in a given area.  These funds are established by many separate donors to carry out their charitable interests.

The common mission of every community foundation is to enhance the quality of life in the local area. Community foundations are non-profit organizations that use local resources to meet local needs.

What Does a Community Foundation Do?

The excellent Stewart Mott Foundation monographs by Dorothy Reynolds titled The Balancing Act state: Simply put, a community foundation has three functions. It is a grantmaker. It is a vehicle for the philanthropy of individuals, corporations and organizations that have concern for a specific geographic area. It provides leadership in the community it serves as an effective, independent arena for addressing difficult issues and/or advocating for needed programs, services or policies.

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

This quote by Winston Churchill captures the heart and meaning of philanthropy.  The word philanthropy is Greek and means the “love of humankind”, usually expressed by an effort to enhance the well being of humanity through personal acts of practical kindness or financial support.  In America, philanthropy has its roots in necessity: In this nation’s early years, philanthropy was the only means of building and sustaining the service institutions each community needed.  

This same spirit of philanthropy, born of a desire to build and sustain our community’s charitable interests is at the heart of the Grant County Community Foundation.  

Mission and Vision
The Grant County Community Foundation is dedicated to the vision of a shared and vibrant community.  Its mission is to enrich lives through collective action. This mission is expressed by:

Building a culture of philanthropy in Grant County by encouraging charitable giving from individuals, families, organizations and businesses.
Making grants to advance local non-profits and their missions.
Stewarding donor funds and legacies to ensure sustainability.

Connecting Donors and the Causes They Believe In
The Grant County Community Foundation represents a new dimension to supporting philanthropy in Grant County. It is a permanent endowed fund created by and for the citizens of Grant County to carry out their charitable interests and to provide sustainability and permanence to the organizations serving our community.  The Grant County Community Foundation stands alone as the only philanthropic institution with a long-term goal of building permanent sustainable funds contributed by and serving the full breadth and diversity of Grant County. For the donors, the Grant County Community Foundation can ensure a philanthropic legacy that expresses their values and interests in perpetuity.  The Foundation offers opportunities for local people who want to give back locally. The beauty of the Foundation is that donors need not be wealthy to make a positive difference in the lives of people throughout the area. Through the establishment of permanent funds, donors can sustain local charitable organizations, provide scholarships to area students and fulfill wishes that are close to their hearts. Through the foundation’s planned giving programs, donors can honor loved ones or leave a legacy that benefits the people of Grant County for generations to come.

Through charitable giving, the Grant County Community Foundation will enrich the missions of the area’s nonprofit organizations not just for one year, or even one generation, but in perpetuity.  Nonprofit organizations exist to provide the programs and services that fulfill their mission.  Time and money diverted to fundraising is often a struggle.  It is a rare nonprofit that can devote these precious resources to raising endowed funds that can offer long-term financial stability.  The Grant County Community Foundation exists to provide this additional dimension of sustainable and permanent financial support for Grant County nonprofits.  

Taking the Long View
The Grant County Community Foundation represents the long view of philanthropic giving.  Funds are invested in perpetuity and a portion of the investment earnings is then distributed annually.   Such a permanent endowed community fund is a compelling opportunity to truly expand philanthropic giving in Grant County – to expand the “philanthropic pie”.  

The Grant County Community Foundation was established in 2012 and funded with an initial gift of $100,000 from an anonymous donor.  In 2013 and 2014, the Advisory Board of the Grant County Community Foundation undertook a strategic Planning Study to share its vision and to learn from community members how best to implement its mission and plans.  As part of the study, members of the Advisory Board met with potential donors and representatives of the nonprofit, business, and public sectors, as well as other community organizations and leaders.

Building on the lessons of the study, the Board has now committed to a comprehensive fundraising campaign with a goal of building total endowment funds of $1.5 million over the next five years.   This goal will be achieved through two parallel fundraising initiatives:  A Planned Giving Program and an Advancement Campaign.  

The Foundation’s Planned Giving Program will encourage philanthropic gifts through wills and estates.  A successful Planned Giving Program serves an unmet need for donors and their families, providing a legacy that expresses their values and interests in perpetuity.  Through their planned gifts, donors need not be wealthy to make a positive difference in the community.  Additionally, the Planned Giving Program strengthens local non-profit organizations’ capacity to attract designated funds to endow their mission and programs in perpetuity.

An Advancement Campaign is a parallel initiative aimed at soliciting outright gifts and grants from individuals, organizations, businesses, corporations and foundations.  The Advancement Campaign will work to develop broad support in the form of contributions from the breadth and diversity of Grant County.

Through these bold fundraising initiatives, the Grant County Community Foundation will strengthen the culture of philanthropy, serve the charitable interests of all donors and significantly expand the philanthropic base of support for Grant County.

Organization and Governance
The Grant County Community Foundation Advisory Board ensures local accountability and regularly and openly provides information on its programs and finances.  The Board ensures transparency in all grant-making policies and activities: ensuring that all grant guidelines are widely disseminated for the fullest possible participation and performing due diligence to ensure that grants are used as allocated.  

The 2016 Advisory Board is served by fourteen Directors: Barrett Brewer, Advisory Board Chair; Kevin Cook, Freeport McMoRan Manager Community Development; Mattie Eagle, CPA with Morones Knuttinen; Alicia Edwards, Executive Director of The Volunteer Center; Deborah Frasca, Life Quest; Paul Hotvedt, Visual Artist; Deborah Cosper-Hughs, retired WNMU; Peggy Hutchinson, Community Member; Diana Ingalls Leyba, L & I Arts; Priscilla Lucero, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments; Mary Newkirk, non-profit consultant; Sandra Riva, International Transactions;  Susie Trujillo, retired Gila Region Hospital Government Liaison and Justin Wecks, Realtor.  Past founding, advisory board members include Nikki Zeuner, formerly of The Wellness Coalition and Charlotte McGaughey, Certified Public Accountant.  Faye McCalmont, Mimbres Region Arts Council, is an Ex-Officio Founding Member.  Linda Brewer and John Rohovec of Bear Mountain Lodge and Gary Stailey serve as Community Ambassadors.

As a permanent endowed fund, the Grant County Community Foundation is incorporated in New Mexico and has tax-exempt charitable status under Section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Service code.  All gifts are fully tax deductible.  Currently the Grant County Community Foundation is an all-volunteer organization.  Professional services are contracted for as needed. The local advisory board seeks to ensure financial stability and stewardship for invested funds, accountability for charitable gifts, in-depth guidance in charitable giving and cost-effective operations.

Building the Grant County Community Foundation
We invite you to join the Grant County Community Foundation’s commitment to philanthropy in our community.  As we grow the foundation, we encourage your participation as a donor, as a volunteer, and as an advocate for philanthropic giving in our shared and vibrant community.

Contact:  Barrett Brewer, Chair  /  barrettbrewer@mac.com  /  575 535-4747
P.O. Box 1767 / Silver City, New Mexico 88062