Four Investments in Community—Here’s How

Four Investments in Community—Here’s How

Let’s keep this simple… goodness knows you’re probably busy enough as it is. Still, if you’re interested in making a charitable investment in your community, here are four ideas that are doable and offer impact. Learn. Gaining greater knowledge about your nonprofit community is an excellent first step. Nonprofit staff and leaders know about one another, make referrals, brainstorm with each other, and often meet formally. Invite a nonprofit leader for coffee. Seek out referrals of other nonprofit leaders they see as collaborative, effective, and capable. You’ll gather some helpful insights that can affect your next-step investments. And, if you’re still wondering or confused, come see us at the Community Foundation. We can provide ideas to help you on your path. Volunteer. From loading food, to licking envelopes, to serving as a board member, many nonprofits can put a dedicated volunteer to work. Keep in mind that each charity has unique needs and limited workspaces. So, a decline of your offer isn’t personal. It’s often just practical. Still, be proactive. Visit LoudounCares http://volunteer.loudouncares.org/user/register to match your unique skills and interests with requests from area charities. And, if you have special talents, be sure to bring those up or detail them. Do you love strategic planning? Feel just fine asking a friend for a gift? Love numbers and budgets? Have a background in media, law, or human resources? Those skills are prized in many nonprofit organizations. Share. Charities are challenged by limited resources, to be sure. It’s just the name of the game. Be their ambassador. You can tell their story with friends at the backyard BBQ. You can share...
Taking Charitable Giving Personally: A Donor Advised Fund

Taking Charitable Giving Personally: A Donor Advised Fund

  If you take charitable giving personally, you should let us know. Consider setting up a donor advised fund with the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. We offer donor advised funds for anyone who wants to stay actively and personally involved in grantmaking. Grant awards are issued to charities in the name of your fund (or anonymously, if you prefer). Gifts of cash, appreciated stock, real estate, or other assets can be donated to the Community Foundation into your fund. It’s a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving. And, because the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties is a public charity, gifts made into a donor advised fund benefit from maximum tax advantages. As for the varied annual tax filings with the IRS and State. . . not your worry. The Community Foundation files one, single document with each entity representing your fund and all the funds under its stewardship. On the investment side, assets are pooled for greater diversification, yet accounted for separately, making creation of a fund with even modest assets (the Community Foundation requires a minimum gift of $10,000 to start a personal fund; $25,000 for a scholarship fund) easy from the start. Donor advised funds also help to create family traditions lasting for generations. Including your children and grandchildren in the joy of giving teaches valuable lessons about life. Family members of all ages can work with the Community Foundation’s professional grantmaking staff to target both local and national issues you care about most. Here’s another advantage: A year-end or lump sum gift made to the Community Foundation...
The Mean Loudoun Donor

The Mean Loudoun Donor

Meet Susan. She’s here to represent the mean donor in Loudoun County. Rather than mean, I should really say “average” donor. She might surprise you. Susan is great. But, chances are, she leaves Loudoun County every day for work. (53% of Loudoun residents do.) That commute negatively affects Susan’s ties to her community with fewer business connections and probably less knowledge of her community. Susan’s household income is about $120,000 like a substantive majority of households in the county. It’s a good quality of Loudoun County life, named one of the happiest counties in the U.S. Like most of her neighbors, Susan donates about 2% of her discretionary income to charity. That’s 1% less than the average American donating 3% to charity. As explained by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “A Mismatch Between Need and Affluence,” American communities with high standards of living often have low charitable giving rates. American citizens who don’t come into immediate contact with “need” give less. That describes Loudoun County to a “T.” Loudoun needs aren’t in your face. The last Point in Time study in Loudoun County tallied 134 homeless citizens. Susan has never knowingly seen a homeless person in her neighborhood. The largest local food pantry, Loudoun Interfaith Relief, serves 17,000 people. She can’t see hungry people on her commute. Loudoun Cares, our local information and referral hotline, processed more than 4,000 referrals for people seeking help in rent and utility assistance, clothing, and more. But, those folks don’t call Susan. Loudoun County Department of Family services provides supplemental day-care support for 315 low-income qualifying households, allowing parents to get into the workforce...
The $10 Multiplier of Give Choose

The $10 Multiplier of Give Choose

May 3rd was all about choosing and giving. GiveChoose.org showcased 60 local nonprofits doing good deeds in our backyard: animal welfare, arts and culture, community improvement, education, environment, health, human service, and youth development. Hosted by the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, this charitable “crowdfunding” event now in its third year is fast becoming a meaningful pipeline of fresh funding for our “heavy lifting” nonprofits, groups that rely on all-volunteer leadership, and new start ups. We build the portal, and these local charities use Give Choose to share their vision, explain their mission, and raise always-needed financial resources with gifts of $10 or more. Here’s a series of rising-tide-lifts-all-boats statistics: Seventeen businesses created a prize pool offering hourly awards to charities throughout the event to incentivize giving. Twenty businesses joined this year’s debut Business Challenge encouraging their employees join in Give Choose. First-time donors made 500 gifts to their newly discovered charity of choice.   Eighteen charities had donors willing to match gifts received during Give Choose. And, here’s the big Thank You Boom: More than 1,400 gifts were made to 60 nonprofits raising $180,200. Will you mark your calendars for May 2, 2017? Give Choose will be...
Local Philanthropy:  You Can Touch it, Track It, See It

Local Philanthropy: You Can Touch it, Track It, See It

I believe philanthropy is a cornerstone value that can define a community. It can, in a sense, make or break a community. Communities with generosity and a coordinated voice for need can elevate quality of life for everyone who lives there. If you’re not familiar with the community foundation model, you’re not alone. Even though Virginia has more than 25 community foundations across the Commonwealth, many folks are not familiar with us. In a nutshell, community foundations work with local donors to build endowment. Community foundation donors are very involved. They create and name their own personalized fund. They decide the purpose of the fund. People instinctively want to give to something that supports the place they live and love if the right giving vehicle is at the ready. And, community foundations, with their broad flexible purpose, are at the ready. For more than 25 years, I’ve been involved in nonprofit work, mostly in fundraising, and for the past three years, as jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none executive director of the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. It is, by far, the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. My work and career has been deeply influenced by good luck, hard work, and a remarkable cadre of volunteer leaders. Through it all, a few key notions keep floating to the surface that, I believe, have helped my local community foundation stretch and grow. Here they are: Money does make the world go round. You can’t take it with you. Buy low and sell high. Give a gift that keeps on giving—include charity in your will. Be a changemaker—find an issue that...
I Do Not Like It Scam-I-Am

I Do Not Like It Scam-I-Am

Last week, the Community Foundation received a remarkable check from a new donor—almost $40,000.  And, it was unrestricted.  Yowza.  The donor trusted our judgment on how to apply it most wisely. It started with a generic email asking whom to talk to about making a donation.  The donor was from London, England, so my radar went up.  I mean, who makes a gift from overseas without any local ties to a community? Of course, I did the net search, revealing their company Website and Linked-In page, none of which offered any clues.  But, seeing those sites did sort of make it real. After several emails back and forth—all very brief, mind you—we received a Cashier’s check from a Trust fund held at a well-known regional bank.  Same as cash, right? Those Cashier’s checks?  My radar shifted from, “This is too good to be true,” to “WAA-HOO!” And, what’s more, it was for about $10,000 more than the email pledged.   Our Board of Directors was poised for discussion on best use of the funds. We had visions of future software purchases, creation of at least one new endowment fund, and stashing some away in a Reserve Fund. And then, the shoe dropped.  As requested, I emailed the donor to say the gift had arrived.  He called. The gift was $10,000 more “by mistake.”  Actually, the donor said, his accountant, who was now in Greece (Sigh*) had made this error and he expected he would need to fire him (Jeez*).  What’s more, he had pledged that portion of the distribution to a family with a child headed into surgery—and they needed...
Higher Thinking:  Our Community and Substance Abuse

Higher Thinking: Our Community and Substance Abuse

I attended a well-thought out session on substance abuse last night hosted and coordinated by the Chief of Police Purcellville. It was a community meeting of the highest thinking. Truth be told, I wanted to weep as I headed home. Substance abuse, like so many of us are intimately aware, is like a festering wound as friends and family members fall prey to addiction and isolation. There were people in the room with their own personal stories of loss. Hope and success, too. Here’s what I learned. Loudoun County Public Schools have staff trained and dedicated to helping students facing substance abuse as part of the Department of Pupil Services. Take advantage. Loudoun County has extraordinary and robust counseling services within its department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Developmental Services—including resources to reduce costs of 28-day treatment.  (Sadly, a few years ago due to budget cuts, Loudoun County lost its Drug Court and temporary safe housing for addicts—excellent and worthwhile measures that take an addict beyond the 28-day timeframe.) I was also reminded that people around us care. Police Chief Cynthia McAlister shared a story of a local low-income family with an addicted son, striving to keep costs in check during his recovery and opting to keep him at home during this delicate time. Like most of us, they didn’t reach out to friends or neighbors because of the stigma many of us feel—despite the common nature of this disease. Their son overdosed and died. That did become public knowledge. The lesson was this: So much caring and higher thinking rallied around that family that they didn’t need...
Coalitions, Networks, and Initiatives—Oh My!

Coalitions, Networks, and Initiatives—Oh My!

There are many ways to get involved in your local community—sometimes it just takes knowing the right people.   Or, the local coalitions, networks and initiatives! Our local community has a number of meeting systems and groups that welcome visitors, volunteers, and offer a wonderful ways to build connections and learn more about what’s what here at home. Interested in volunteering? How about learning more about local charities dedicated to health and human service? Want to find local workshops and training on fundraising or nonprofit administration? Here’s a list we’d like to offer up that might help guide your local thinking—and action! As put so beautifully, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi...
Gavin Rupp “I Promise 15” Legacy Continues

Gavin Rupp “I Promise 15” Legacy Continues

Gavin Rupp “I Promise 15” Scholarship Fund has awarded two scholarships in its debut year. Created in memorial to Gavin Rupp who died of cancer, July 30, 2013, at age 13, Gavin attended Eagle Ridge Middle School and loved the game of baseball.  His jersey was #15. The scholarship fund makes awards to students in the medical profession pursuing training and degrees with a particular emphasis in oncology. “Our entire family is so grateful for the wonderful medical team members that supported Gavin throughout his 30-month battle with cancer.  We hope that by providing a scholarship to students who will one day work with other pediatric cancer patients, the scholarship recipients can “Pay it Forward” to many others for years to come,” said Gavin’s parents, Chris and Sandy Rupp. Together with Gavin’s brother Ian and sister Abby, the Rupp’s intend to award at least one scholarship annually. Two students were selected to benefit in 2015: Caroline Nicotra (left), a Tuscarora High School graduate, will attend Virginia Tech with aspirations to study biological sciences on a pre-med track in oncology. Nicotra says she loves science, but was inspired by a friend in 4th grade who died of cancer. A second award was made to Brianna Jennings (right), a graduate of Loudoun County High. She will attend Michigan State University on a pre-med track after personal health issues sensitized her to the need for physicians with empathy and care. The Scholarship Fund also has a new benefactor from sales of a newly published children’s book, Overwhelming Underdogs, written by Jeanne Layman, sold online through Lulu.Com. A coming-of-age story about baseball, proceeds from the book will...
Grant Funding Announced for Youth and Elderly

Grant Funding Announced for Youth and Elderly

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties have partnered to support needs in Loudoun County.  This year, the Loudoun Impact Fund, a giving circle dedicated to supporting organizations in Loudoun County, will be managed jointly by both organizations. An estimated $65,000 of pooled contributions to the Fund will be available to support its 2015-2016 grant cycle.  Members of the giving circle have elected to support programs that positively impact youth and elderly welfare in Loudoun County.  Applications submitted from nonprofits, schools and faith-based organizations are now being accepted through a September 1, 2015 deadline. Grants are expected to range from $5,000 to $20,000 per agency.  In this year’s program, applications will be accepted for initiatives that improve the quality of life, health and mental wellness and/or provide services to disadvantaged children up to 18 and elders 65 or over to include populations with special needs, or are dependent, neglected, low-income or at-risk.  To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.communityfoundationlf.org/grant-seekers. The Loudoun Impact Fund was launched in 2012 by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and has granted $100,000.   The new partnership with the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties broadens the reach of the giving circle membership.  Its purpose is to invest strategically in Loudoun County, Virginia, to promote education, the arts and the environment, and to support the needs of Loudoun families, children and youth.  Each year, giving circle members work together to identify specific criteria for the annual grant cycle and, as the grant cycle progresses, serve as a grants review team for all proposals collected. “It’s a wonderful way to learn more about the...
Page 1 of 3123