January 9, 2020
I’m a huge trivia geek and January 4th was National Trivia Day! Trivia question: In what year was the Community Foundation of Grundy County (formerly the Morris Community Foundation) formed? Answer: 1999 – we just celebrated our 20th anniversary year!
Another trivia factoid: January 13th is Make Your Dream Come True Day. Obviously tied to all of our New Year’s resolutions, right?
But dreams can belong to organizations, too. I spend quite a bit of time talking with local nonprofits about their services and needs, looking for where the Foundation can bring leadership and philanthropy to the table. Quite often I hear nonprofits say they dream of a pool of unrestricted dollars.
This may sound odd, but much of a nonprofit’s income, whether grants or donor dollars, can be tied to specific things and programs – “donor-directed.” These donor-directed dollars are great, but many do not realize how limiting it can be for the nonprofit.
Absolutely a nonprofit needs money to provide programs and direct services to clients and the community, but it also takes administrative dollars to fund the people, facilities, and equipment to make that delivery of services possible. As I’ve said many times: I believe the term “human services” is not about serving humans, but because it takes humans to deliver the services. We can’t automate substance abuse counseling, nor flu shots, nor job coaching, nor driving a school bus. Or let me re-phrase that: our society doesn’t yet WANT those things automated. Local retailers and fast food are automating services and getting push-back as a result.
Nonprofits also need funding for facilities. A food pantry needs electricity for refrigerators and freezers. A hospital needs electricity, heat, buildings, equipment, and more. Most of us need a roof, heat, phones, and computers. Even if a service is provided in an individual’s home, the nonprofit still needs dollars to fund the transportation of the worker making the home visits.
In the nonprofit world, face-to-face human connection is how the delivery and acceptance of services work.
How can you help make this dream a reality for your favorite charity? You can have a chat with the staff about what they need funding for. You can make your next donation “for your unrestricted use.” You can use your assets to start a fund here at the Community Foundation for the benefit of your favorite charity, whether now or using your estate assets.
An endowment for that charity housed at the Community Foundation of Grundy County is an excellent gift. This is fresh on my mind because over the holidays there were a fair amount of conversations about how we all seem to have everything we need, few gift ideas, but a great desire to make sure the kids are taken care of in the future.
If you understand what IRAs, college funds, and life insurance can do for your kids and grandkids, then you understand what an endowment can do for your favorite charity – a steady flow of income that isn’t reliant on donations or state & federal grants.
So as you celebrate National Make Your Dream Come True Day on January 13th, please consider how your gift of time, talent, or treasure can help your favorite charity meet the goals for the organization as well as for the clients they serve!
Julianne Buck is the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 815-941-0852, or in the historic Coleman Hardware Building at 520 W. Illinois Avenue, Morris.