Communities Matter | nnbusinessview.com

Communities Matter

Chris Askin

Making northern Nevada a better place to live takes more than money. As a charitable foundation, this truth hits home to us.

Thanks to the generosity of the people in our community, The Community Foundation has granted out more than $90 million since our inception in 1998. Grants are not our only way to strengthen the community. Money is not our only voice.

As we grew and built relationships with donors, with charities, with our elected officials and business leaders, and with thought leaders and concerned citizens, we have stepped into an expanded role. Community Leadership has become a significant part of our work.

The Community Foundation is an educator.

Through our initiatives, we take action steps to make progress as we learn about the issues.

We offer seminars to professional advisors such as accountants, attorneys, and financial planners to clarify the benefits of incorporating charitable giving into financial and estate planning. Charitable gift planning can be a benefit to both the client and the community, and potentially, to the client’s family.

We align with the Planned Giving Roundtable of Northern Nevada, a group for which I had the privilege of being the Founding President. The Planned Giving Roundtable of Northern Nevada is comprised of professional advisors and nonprofit development officers who are focused on promoting philanthropy in estate and financial planning.

In partnership with KNPB, we underwrite the Family Estate Planning Series. This series of seven weekly workshops offered twice a year offers free comprehensive estate planning education taught by local professionals. More than 1,000 residents have attended.

The Community Foundation established the 100 percent Board Giving award. Now more than 80 local charities have 100 percent of their board members making personal financial contributions. Truly this is a positive culture shift.

It is the Community Foundation’s mission to bring together funders to share their concerns and learn about issues we can address that are common to us all.

As a neutral organization, the Community Foundation is well suited to be a convener for the public around wide-spread community issues. In September we will bring people together to look at the challenges unpaid family caregivers face in caring for an aging family member. More than 8,000 families in Washoe County are affected by this issue.

Community Foundation staff, volunteers, and fundholders have worked with Washoe County School District for years on the bullying issues in the district. Together we focused attention on bullying, provided funding, underwritten studies, and brought together district officials and non-profits to develop new programs and curriculums.

Our work is not about talk but action.

Through our initiatives, we take action steps to make progress as we learn about the issues. We created an online go-to resource directory, http://www.renoyouthnetwork.com for youth experiencing homelessness. We need to reduce the long mentor request waiting lists that may cause youth to lose hope. Our website, www. NevadaMentors.org connects volunteers to mentor opportunities for youth. The Community Foundation supports local organizations that work to directly improve issues with new strategies such as the Eddy House YOUth Resource Center opened downtown.

The Community Foundation participates in other community efforts where leaders have stepped up but look to all of us to come together to help. Our staff and board members are involved in local coalitions including the Healthy Communities Initiative, One Truckee River, and Operation Downtown. As we grow and our capacity expands, we look at ways we can leverage the grantmaking part of our business to amplify and compliment community involvement.

An exciting focus is engaging the business community in both philanthropy and community leadership. Together we can build upon our common interests, needs, and resources to make improvements that are felt on a personal and professional level. If you haven’t worked with the Community Foundation, I urge you to call.

We may be able to help you and your business in ways you hadn’t considered.

Learn more by contacting the Community Foundation at 775-333-5499, or nevadafund.org.

Chris Askin is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation.


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