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Connecting Donors to Opportunities to Give

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Isaiah M. Oliver

Isaiah M. Oliver

President
The Community Foundation

One day in September, The Community Foundation received a call from the Diaper Bank for Northeast Florida.

Huggies was offering to make the diaper bank’s largest-ever donation ― more than 180,000 diapers, enough for 3,600 local babies to stay clean and dry. They needed $7,000 in cash to cover the shipping costs in a matter of days. Could we help?

Thanks to our fund holders, the answer was “yes.” Within a week, The Community Foundation staff had connected with three local donors we knew would want to help. They each made a grant through their Donor Advised Fund, and together, covered the cost to ship these diapers to our area.

Donor-advised funds (or DAFs) were incubated at community foundations for decades after the first one was created in 1931. In recent years, they have grown dramatically as traditional financial services providers have begun offering them, and these funds now house an astonishing $234 billion in charitable assets in the United States.

The funds have become more popular because of their unique advantages. Contributions are tax-deductible, and they allow donors to house and invest charitable dollars until they are ready to make grants to nonprofits. Giving through a donor-advised fund can simplify the donor’s taxes, help them be more strategic about their grantmaking and provide benefits in comparison to ― or in addition to ― a private foundation.

I believe donors with DAFs are best served through community foundations, because we help connect them to giving opportunities in the community, leveraging charitable dollars for maximum impact.

The diaper bank story is the perfect illustration.

One of the donors we called, Greg Landwirth, is the son of the late Henri Landwirth, a Holocaust survivor. His philanthropy focused on restoring dignity by meeting basic needs, which he was denied at Auschwitz. When we got the call from the Diaper Bank, this family history came to mind.

Greg wanted to help the diaper bank to honor his father’s legacy, and he was so happy to be part of the effort that he even went on-site to help unload the trucks.

At The Community Foundation, knowing our donors is the core of our work. Our goal is to operate like a car’s navigation system, helping donors find the best route to their philanthropic goals. Philanthropy starts with the heart, and DAFs allow donors to pursue their passions with the strategic guidance of our knowledgeable staff.

Our region’s wealth is growing, and so is the demand on nonprofits to serve our community. We are proud to be the bridge between our fundholders’ generosity and community needs.

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