SPEAKING THROUGH GRANTS FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
When a group of community leaders gathered in April 1985 and agreed to organize The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, they didn’t have the advantage of a website or Facebook page to spread the word or explain the concept. “In many ways the community was ready for this,” recalls Stefan Anderson, who helped lead the effort to establish the Foundation. “We didn’t need the Internet in those days because we did our speaking through grants. That caused an awareness to develop.”
The Foundation’s board, which Anderson joined in 1988, wasted little time in showing the community what this new organization could accomplish. Within its first year, three nonprofits—the YMCA, the local NAACP Scholarship Fund and the Muncie Civic Theatre—had benefited from grants. “Word of mouth was instrumental,” says Anderson. “And we had wonderfully cooperative newspapers that went out of their way to communicate the Foundation’s programs.”
A positive byproduct of the Foundation has been the ongoing opportunity it provides to cultivate the next wave of community leaders. “Without the Foundation there would not be an ever-emerging generation of leaders who have learned good governance and good policy development through their service to the Foundation,” says Anderson. “The board and its committees have been leadership-development incubators.”
He believes his colleagues who gave of their time and resources to create one of Indiana’s oldest community foundations would be pleased, but not shocked, at its subsequent success. “If we had had a crystal ball in 1985 I think we would have foreseen growth ahead, but we would not have anticipated that growth in assets and grants would be on such a dramatic upward curve. That has been impressive. The idea at the outset was not to focus on assets, but to maximize our granting capacity and the impact of our grants. And it’s worked.”
We value a donor-advised fund because it is an easy and reliable way to support our favorite causes.
Anderson and his wife Joan have established two funds. One is an unrestricted endowment fund that gives the Foundation the flexibility to respond to community needs as they arise. The second is a donor-advised fund. “We value a donor-advised fund because it is an easy and reliable way to support our favorite causes,” he explains. “The extraordinary personal service which comes with it at The Community Foundation could not be matched by the charitable gift funds of large brokers, and it avoids the cost of starting one’s own foundation.”
The deep leadership association with The Community Foundation made the Andersons’ decision to give back to the community via the Foundation an easy one. “We saw a record of integrity and trust as well as a succession of wise and prudent leaders on the board. All these things made the choice of working for and with The Community Foundation …something that was destined to happen,” says Anderson. “We wanted to be part of it.”