Forever is a concept most of us have difficulty grasping, especially as it relates to our own actions. Is it possible that a decision we make today will have an impact on generations yet to be born? How can we understand the meaning of permanent, lasting and enduring? While forever might be difficult to comprehend, the Community Foundation’s existence is very much based on the idea of forever.
The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation was created in 1978 to provide a permanent source of funding to respond to the needs of ChautauquaCounty, as they emerge and change over time. By encouraging individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create endowment funds at CRCF, the Foundation has succeeded in building “forever” into Chautauqua County’s charitable future. An endowment fund is permanent — the initial investment that creates the fund, along with the gifts that are added over the years, will always be at the Community Foundation to generate income to meet future needs.
For a donor looking to leave a legacy or simply give back to the community, an endowment fund is the most basic tool the Foundation can offer. The flexibility of an endowment fund allows a donor to establish any type of fund for any organization, purpose, or charitable cause. Tying in the concept of forever, the endowment fund will always remain at the Community Foundation providing, benefit to the community long after the donor is gone.
Another critical element of an endowment fund is that any donor of any economic disposition can create one. Often times donors have the misconception that one must be wealthy to create endowments, while many individuals of many different backgrounds have started endowments at the Community Foundation. These are the very individuals whose funds are continuing to build the community today.
The founders of the Community Foundation clearly understood the importance of endowments and the concept of forever. The founders new that every endowment created would continue to permanently benefit the community. In the past 27 years, 425 individuals, families, businesses, and non-profit organizations have established funds with CRCF to carry out their charitable giving, now or in the future. These individuals have bought into the concept of forever, not just in creating a lasting legacy for themselves, but also as a permanent benefit to the community they love. In addition, these 425 separate funds have led to over $20,000,000 that has been granted directly back to the community. With that being said, it is clear to see that as time passes the direct impact from endowment funds will only continue to grow, as individual legacies grow.
Under the umbrella of an endowment fund, the Community Foundation offers a number of different types of funds. If you wish to learn more about these different endowment funds and how you might be able to create your own permanent community legacy, contact the Community Foundation staff at 661-3390. It is often easy to think about today, but true growth and prosperity come from thinking about the future through the concept of forever.
Published in the May 21st edition of The Post-Journal