In 1978, Eugene Struckoff, a national expert on community foundations, was invited by a group of concerned citizens to investigate the possibility of endowing a community foundation for Jamestown and the surrounding area. Mr. Struckoff concluded that, although the area was smaller than what was normally desired to support a community foundation, the resident's support of existing charitable organizations led him to believe that such an effort would survive and grow.
Armed with Mr. Struckoff's findings, the initial steering committee approached the Gebbie Foundation for assistance. After reviewing the facts, the Gebbie Foundation pledged $300,000 to seed the newest member of the Jamestown foundation family.
The new organization visited the trust departments of the various banks in Jamestown, convincing them to transfer a number of their existing funds, to the Community Foundation. Many of these funds were scholarships, establishing the Foundation as a leader for scholarship awards in Chautauqua County. To this day, the Community Foundation name is synonymous with educational aid in the Chautauqua Region.
Through hard work and dedication, the founders of the Community Foundation reached their goal of a $1,000,000 endowment in five years. What came next was a period of growth that marked it as one of the fastest growing community foundations in the United States.
At the end of 2012, the Community Foundation was at an asset level of $68 million. Through its 35 year history, the Foundation has received contributions of $60.7 million and granted to the community over $37.5 million. The Community Foundation currently administers over 536 individual funds. It is projected to award over $1,000,000 in scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year. As of the end of 2012, it has 14 Charitable Gift Annuities in place.
The Community Foundation extends its thanks to its founders for their tireless efforts, as well as the entire community for their support and confidence.