It is the greatest privilege in the world to help people with their charitable giving. The word is out now that in the last week of January we distributed our 100th Million Dollar in grants, a number that boggles the mind, but here is a bit more about that story.
Our first grants were made in 1999. We distributed $2 million that year. Grantmaking has been up and down through the years, but the largest “jumps” in giving took place in 2004 when we granted more than $4 million for the first time, then again in 2006 when we granted out almost $8 million in one year. Overall grantmaking has averaged closer to $6 million each year.
The donors and fundholders who give to and through the Community Foundation care deeply about the community. The Community Foundation encourages donor advised fundholders make grants and put their generosity into action. Dollars put into endowments are also “actionable” dollars, and we see the impact because those gifts generate grants forever, doubling and infinitely multiplying the impact, forever.
The economic downturn of 2008 was the most significant recent “economic hit” that charities weathered. Historically, it was one of the few times in our nation’s history that giving decreased as people lost jobs and their investments shrank. Although it may seem like the Community Foundation would try to hold onto assets during that difficult time, we took the opposite position. The charitable dollars entrusted to the Community Foundation were needed in our local community. We made phone calls and sent emails to fundholders telling them about how our local charities were experiencing decreased charitable support, coupled with increased need. They responded more strongly than we anticipated.
In 2009, per their advice, we granted out almost $14 million. This, at the same time as our invested assets, had also taken a hit. In that year the Community Foundation overall assets decreased by about $13 million, but wow, what a wonderful tribute to the generous people we work with and to the great work by our local nonprofits.
I hope you think of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada as your foundation because that is what we are. We are here for you, everyone, in Northern Nevada, and we are proud of how we have been embraced by the community.
We have giving opportunities that likely exceed what any person contacting the Community Foundation may expect. Please help us spread the word about our existence and the Community Foundation’s ability to help. If you wish to explore giving, please give me a call.
Chris Askin, President, and CEO
Connecting people who care with causes that matter