Since the creation of the first community foundation in America in 1914, the concept of contributing resources to a permanent community improvement fund has been adopted and adapted by citizens on every continent except Antarctica. As local people everywhere seek a greater say over their destinies, this philanthropic movement continues to grow. Today, more than 1,800 place-based foundations are empowering people to address local challenges and opportunities. By strengthening civil society, community foundations are helping to fill voids in global leadership and build a better world, place by place by place.*
The first Community Foundation (CF) was formed in Cleveland in 1914 by Humanitarian and Banker, Frederick H. Goff. The combined funds managed by Community Foundations is over $63bn and in 2013 the combined grants to the worldwide community was $5,003,996,481. Today the largest foundation has $3.73bn under management and distributes over $300m each year.
The movement has tremendous untapped potential. Seventy-five percent of the world’s community foundations were established within the last 25 years, and many are still in their developmental infancy or adolescence. As these organizations come of age programmatically and financially, the track record of their older peers suggests that they can be expected to play increasingly potent roles as agents of community development and social change.
Importantly the impact of the amount available to give from those funds changes communities in a positive and meaningful way. The true measure of a CF’s worth is not the size of our endowment, how much we receive in gifts, or the dollar value of our grants. Rather, the measure of our worth is the leadership role we play and the impact we have in the communities we serve, as a grantmaker, convener, and facilitator.
CF’s are designed to pool donations into a coordinated investment and grant making facility dedicated primarily to the social improvement of a given place. They build and strengthen communities by making it possible for a wide range of donors to participate in creating, fueling, and directing funds to meet present and future needs.
The strength of Community Foundations is in place-based giving where communities are deciding for themselves not just what their issues are but what the solutions are.
Auckland Communities Foundation (ACF) was formed in 2010. We have a long time horizon, and while ACF is growing, we don’t expect to mature until we are around 20 years old. Our giving is primarily ‘Donor-Led’, where donors work with the Foundation to decide where their gift will have the most impact which aligns with their own values, passions and interests.
Whilst giving we are building alongside a permanent endowment legacy for Auckland, so that in perpetuity funds are available to support what the community needs most.
The Community Foundation movement is supported by a number of active national and global networks. Nationally the Community Foundations of New Zealand, of which ACF is a member, is an active peak body supporting best practise and development of the movement in this country. We are a member of Philanthropy New Zealand and engage with our relevant sector groups.
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