November 12-18 is National Community Foundation Week, and The Community Foundation for Crawford County wants to use this time to raise awareness of their local impact and the importance of community foundations in general. Community Foundations hold endowment funds that provide a perpetual source of income for nonprofit organizations. They also hold scholarship funds which seek to alleviate college debt, as well as increase our education attainment level. Finally, they are also a grantmaking public charity dedicated to improving the quality of lives for their community. Here locally, those grants have differed greatly in purpose and include everything from helping North Central State College Foundation with the Crawford Success Center, giving to the American Red Cross to help local families after house fires, and even granting from a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to tackle the immediate needs of local nonprofit organizations who were negatively impacted. Community foundations are also working more and more with local entities that drive economic and community development, like the Crawford Partnership. Such collaboration led the Foundation and the Partnership to start the community’s first social impact fund, the Program Related Investment (PRI) Fund. Local donors contributed the money and the PRI Fund offers zero interest loans to small businesses that have been financially impacted since the pandemic.
“It is a community foundation’s responsibility to try to unite people and institutions to address the community’s most persistent challenges,” said Lisa Workman, Foundation President. “As our mission statement reflects, we strive to support quality and lasting investments both now and for generations to come.”
The first community foundation created was the Cleveland Foundation in 1914, and now there are more than 750 in the U.S. and at least 1,200 outside of the U.S. Nearly every type of gift, from cash to real estate, can be donated to a community foundation. Community Foundation Week was created in 1989 by former President George H.W. Bush to recognize the important work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address community problems.