Bridging People Who Care with Causes that Matter

Hopefully you all read in an earlier edition that the Morris Community Foundation officially changed its name to the Community Foundation of Grundy County.  We announced this name change at our first-ever “Donor and Partner Appreciation Night” on April 18th.


The reason for our name change is pretty basic: to better tell the story of our work.  Since the Foundation was begun in 1999, some of our early projects focused on Morris.  However, the vast majority of our grantmaking and leadership has been county-wide, especially since partnering with Grand Victoria Foundation in the CommunityWorks project five years ago.  We came to realize that it’s impossible to work on issues such as child care, transportation, stormwater, and workforce development without addressing them county-wide.


In addition to the name change, we also have a new logo and new slogan.  The logo is a drawing of the Five-Mile Bridge on the historic I&M Canal.  Our new slogan is “bridging people who care with causes that matter.”


So having said all that, it’s a good time to review the answer to a very basic question: What is the Community Foundation of Grundy County (CFGC)?


Think of us as a bridge.  The Community Foundation of Grundy County serves as the bridge connecting our generous donors with not-for-profits, local organizations, and other partners on a mission to create a better community today, tomorrow and forever for all of Grundy County.


Technically, the Community Foundation of Grundy County is a collection of individual funds that are endowed and grown through professional management to be a permanent income stream for the community.


Then think of that bridge working in a big circle.  Our work is very cyclical: donors set up funds at the Community Foundation of Grundy County to meet their charitable goals and to lessen their tax burdens.  While we are growing the funds, we are also networking in the community with not-for-profits, business leaders, community leaders, and elected officials to identify issues that affect our county’s quality of life.  We then report these findings back to our donors so that they can grant from their funds to support the causes that they care about.


We also use this information to structure grantmaking and community leadership.


As of this spring, we are a collection of 20 individual funds that we are being professionally managed and grown for future use as an income stream for the community.  The types of funds currently under management include Donor Advised Funds, Field of Interest Funds, Agency Funds, Designated Funds, and Scholarship Funds.  They are a mixture of both endowed and pass-through funds.


Our clients include donors, professional advisors, not-for-profits, and Grundy County in general.  For donors, we give them tools to be more proactive in their long-term charitable giving while lessening their tax burden.  For professional advisors we are a “value-added” service that they can use to enhance their own services to their clients.  For not-for-profits we are partners to enhance their effectiveness in the county.  For Grundy County in general we are a non-political leader with a strong ability to convene discussions in order to identify issues and develop solutions.


The top five issues of the Community Foundation of Grundy County are early childhood care & education, land use & protection, workforce development, people in need, and growth & its impact on our county’s systems.  These issues are a priority in our grantmaking, but we are also proud to be flexible enough to help our fellow not-for-profits year-round.


The Directors of CFGC are Jim Baum (president), Ron Evenson (vice president), Dick Walker (secretary/treasurer), Kristi Bennington, Mark Jorstad, Carol Narvick, Sue Rezin, Dick Schweickert, Dr. Ann Marie Struck, Tom Tesdal, and Ralph Wolter.


The response to our name change has been tremendous and we’d like to thank all of you for that.  We also want to thank our donors, partners, and sponsors of our Appreciation Night.  It was a special night for us and we are so glad that you were there to share it with us!