Foundation sees strong year of charitable giving

Dubois County, January 14, 2015:  Dubois County Community Foundation ended 2014 with $2.4 million in contributions and grants and a total endowment market value of over $27.4 million. Local giving remained steady and investment returns yielded 7%, making 2014 a strong year for the charitable organization.

Included in contributions was a significant increase to community funds, which provide unrestricted support to community projects and charities.

The Foundation experienced an increase in its overall grantmaking, providing $698,000 in the form of 358 grants to Dubois County charities. This represented 55 student’s scholarships and 152 nonprofit agencies and organizations receiving grants.

The Foundation saw 24 new permanent endowments established by local individuals and businesses to support a range of charitable causes across the county. Endowments, the primary purpose of community foundations, are funds designed to grant income to local charities and community projects, forever.

“Our partners – individual donors, businesses, communities, and charities – are strategically building perpetual funds and leveraging our grants in new and exciting ways,” said Board President, Pat Miller.  “It is an exciting sign to see our Community Foundation as a key ally in driving local philanthropy.”

Collaboration has led to a county-wide approach to philanthropy, engaging multiple towns and cities to grow funds for ventures like Stellar in Huntingburg, repurposing Astra Theatre in Jasper, and community funds in places like St Anthony, Ferdinand, and Ireland.

“Our Stellar distinction would not have been possible without partnerships from across the county,” said City of Huntingburg Mayor Denny Spinner. “It took aligning the philanthropic sector across all our communities to strengthen our bid, and the Community Foundation was instrumental in this effort,” he said.

In St. Anthony, an endowment will provide support to charitable community projects for generations to come.

“It’s been a long range goal to establish a community endowment for St. Anthony,” said Scott Uebelhor. “Working with the Community Foundation over the course of this year made sense and we hope other communities will give consideration to preserving assets for the future,” Uebelhor said.

Estate gifts continue to have a significant impact on the Community Foundation and this year was no different. One such gift will allow playgrounds to be placed across county parks in unincorporated towns, namely the town of Dubois who is the first recipient.

“What’s most impressive about this estate gift is not only the fact we are enhancing local playgrounds for our children, but that we’re sustaining them so maintenance and upkeep doesn’t become a burden on the towns,” said CEO Brad Ward.

Nearly one-fourth of total contributions came in the form of estate gifts. The Foundation credits strong partnerships with local professional advisors for these types of gifts.

“Professional advisors play such a critical role in assuring charitable dollars remain in Dubois County,” Board President Pat Miller said. “We attribute a large part of what we’ve achieved this year to relationships we have with these advisors, who are sitting down having conversations with their clients about how they want to give back to their community,” Miller said.

Community Foundation’s nationwide are encouraging Americans to consider designating 5% to charities or faith-based giving each year, a doubling of a national average of approximately 1.8% in giving from discretionary income, according to Lilly School of Philanthropy.

“It’s a far cry from the days of tithing 10% to our community through churches and causes, but Americans still give more than any other nation,”  Ward said. “It’s part of our DNA as Americans to invest and support our local communities.”

In addition to growing total endowed assets, the Community Foundation remains committed to areas of focus such as engaging the next generation in philanthropy through Dubois County Emerging Leaders, enhancing quality of place through arts, culture and design and strengthening nonprofits through the BetterTogether initiative, a professional workshop series for local nonprofits.

“We believe philanthropy has the power to transform communities and we want to be part of the conversation,” President Pat Miller said. “We’re a donor driven organization and are committed to helping make change happen,” he said.

“Everyone has a story to tell of a life well-lived, and we try to capture that legacy,” Ward said.
“Philanthropy is a personal expression of who you are and what you care about,” he said.