In the Community
Food for ThoughtDecember 01, 2016
Cookbooks are a passion of mine. The most intriguing are those published as fundraisers for women’s guilds, church groups, gardening clubs and the like—especially from years ago. I track them down at second-hand shops and used bookstores. They are snapshots in time—they explain the cause for which the funds were being raised, and they give insight into the popular foods of the day. But best of all, those who contributed their recipes contributed their finest. They were the tried and true signature dishes of the contributors. All knew that it was Mrs. George Smith’s “famous” Chicken and Dumplings, or Miss Hattie Johnson’s “Blue Ribbon” Peach Pie. I can just imagine how many potlucks or dinner parties were blessed by these tasty treats.
At Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, individuals and groups also contribute their best to our community-building “cookbook.” They create funds by offering financial support for those things about which they have passion. But the recipes have a different result. Instead of succotash it may be a scholarship; instead of hoppin’ john it may be healthcare; instead of apple crisp it may be arts and culture.
Establishing a fund is almost as easy as submitting a recipe. Most don’t realize it only requires $2,500 to start a nonpermanent fund, and $5,000 for a permanent endowment. You don’t need to know what kind of fund you want to start; you just need a vision for an improved future. And even then, if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, the Community Foundation’s staff knows what the needs are, and a myriad of ways to address them. We know the organizations that are doing great work and need more support. We know how to help structure a fund to assure that measurement of outcomes is a part of the work, or that flexibility is the watchword.
And we handle all the back-office work. You have no federal or state filings to do, no investments to worry about, and how much you are involved in the selection process for grantees and scholarship recipients is up to you within certain guidelines. You get the tax deduction. And depending on the type of fund, you can get much more—perhaps event registration for fundraisers; perhaps staff assistance for your scholarship fund; perhaps brochures to help you spread the word. You get to sign the recipe. And you get to see how people’s lives can be changed because you had a vision, and you sent us your best. Living generously can prove that the real flavor of life comes from the true salt of the earth—those willing to do what they can to make a real difference.
As you gather the ingredients for your family’s traditional holiday recipes, gather your thoughts about a more long-lasting way to nourish your community. Establish a fund, and give a truly personal reflection of your values as a gift to those who may need it the most.
Denise K. Spencer
President and CEO