Celebrating Community Foundations: 100 Years in America, 98 Years in Indiana, 18 Years in Porter County

porter-county-community-foundationA resolution honoring Indiana’s community foundations and the field’s centennial anniversary was adopted this week by the Indiana Senate. “On the field’s 100th anniversary, we want to celebrate all the good work being done by community foundations throughout America and especially right here in Indiana,” said Senator Randy Head (R) from Logansport, who offered the resolution. “In communities throughout the state, the generosity of countless donors and partner organizations continues to make life better for all of us.

One hundred years ago, the community foundation concept was born in Cleveland, Ohio, giving rise to a new philanthropy, a new way of participating in community, and a new vision for the future. The community foundation field has since grown to more than 700 in the country.

The first community foundation in Indiana was established in Indianapolis in 1916, and Indiana has had more growth than any other state, thanks in part to an effort launched 23 years ago by Lilly Endowment Inc. to strengthen and expand the growth of community foundations in the state. In 1990, fewer than a dozen viable community foundations dotted the Indiana landscape, with combined assets of about $100 million. In 1996, visionary donors across Porter County answered the Lilly Endowment’s challenge grant with $1 million in contributions, establishing the Porter County Community Foundation. Today there are 94 community foundations and county affiliate funds serving every county in the state, inviting everyday people with a vision and a passion for community to create something together: For good. Forever.

Community foundations translate collective giving into big impact

Community members across the state have helped Indiana’s community foundations build a combined $2 billion in managed assets statewide. These gifts build endowment funds that benefit their communities forever and help create personal legacies. When someone contributes to an endowment managed by the community foundation in his or her home town, the gift is invested over time. “Thanks to our community foundations, people in cities and towns throughout Indiana can pool their charitable funds into community resources for the benefit of all,” said Marissa Manlove, President and CEO of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.

Today the Porter County Community Foundation holds nearly $40 million in assets and distributes close to $2 million a year in grants to nonprofit organizations and scholarships to local students. “None of this would be possible without the generosity of donors who, regardless of the size of their gifts, are investing in Porter County’s future,” said Barb Young, President of the Porter County Community Foundation. “These gifts will be supporting our community for generations to come.

Earnings from endowment funds are used to make grants addressing community needs. Each gift—and all future earnings from the gift—is a permanent source of community capital, helping to do good work today and in the future. In 2012 alone, Indiana’s community foundations collectively made grants of approximately $117 million to improve life in their communities. “Community foundations are local nonprofit organizations run and led by local residents who have an in-depth understanding of the issues, opportunities and resources that shape their community,” added Manlove. “Indiana’s community foundations are collectively among the largest instruments for community good in the country.”

The Porter County Community Foundation inspires giving and engages the community to improve lives in Porter County now and forever. To learn more go to www.portercountyfoundation.org