Community Foundation driving a culture of philanthropy in NCW
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One of the most important community-building assets in our region is the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, which supports nonprofits and encourages philanthropy.
The foundation provides opportunities for families to make charitable gifts, supports nonprofits throughout the region and is working to build a culture of philanthropy that will make it possible for our region to solve our own challenges rather than wait for outside help.
Taylor created a strong foundation and Stipe, who previously ran a private family foundation in Fort Collins, Co., has taken it to the next level. The numbers are astounding. When she took over, the foundation had about $14 in assets invested, which has ballooned to nearly $70 million. This year, more than $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded to college-bound students.
Stipe and the foundation board have put increasing emphasis on finding ways to encourage small-scale giving.
To that end, the foundation developed the Give NCW campaign. This year, the foundation gave $225,000 in regional impact grants to 25 nonprofits, and then set up an online catalog that allowed individuals to make contributions to those organizations.
Community members matched the amount of funds provided by the foundation — an astonishing achievement — and 11 projects were fully funded through this effort. For example, one project that was fully funded put an automated external defibrillator in every sheriff’s deputy car in Chelan and Douglas counties. They are ready to save lives.
This leveraging of resources is something that Stipe, her team and the board of directors of the foundation have mastered. But they are not sitting on their laurels and collecting kudos — they are planning ways to make significantly greater impacts on our communities.
Stipe and I spoke about the foundation’s Nonprofit Practices Institute, an annual program that brings world-class training to our rural area. The theory, which is proving to be successful, was that by helping nonprofits be more effective, that charitable dollars can be better leveraged in our community.
The people who get involved in nonprofit work sometimes need additional skills to be more effective. This capacity building has been a central part of the Community Foundation’s mission.
North Central Washington, Stipe told me, has a strong tradition of philanthropy. But even more can be done, and to that effect the Community Foundation will soon launch an audacious initiative that could supercharge philanthropy and help transform our region.
It’s called Give 10, as in leave 10 percent of your wealth to benefit the community when you pass away. The Community Foundation, Stipe said, did a study that showed that if people give 10 percent, as much as an additional $14 million a year in resources for charitable purposes could be generated in our region.
Imagine what that could mean. We could go a long way towards addressing needs in our communities, such as reducing homelessness, supporting the arts, etc.
The aging members of the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers accumulated immense wealth through hard work. “Those individuals have an opportunity to enhance their communities by including charities in their will,” Stipe said.
Stipe and her husband David, along with Community Foundation board member Dr. Chris Stahler have committed to the Give 10 initiative as a way of leading by example.
Stipe sings the praises of the “kitchen table philanthropy” that happens in our rural communities. Making sure that everyone knows they can make a difference is critical to building a culture of philanthropy.
Encouraging everyday philanthropy will go a long way toward strengthening our communities and making North Central Washington a great place to live for generations to come.
We are fortunate that the Community Foundation is helping lead the way.