The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
Someone once said, “Raising money is hard work, but giving it away wisely is even harder.” Granting money in a way that will make an impact on your community’s future is one of the most important jobs of a Fund Advisory Committee. Successful affiliated funds grant money with the intention of making a long-term positive difference in the community. They invest in people instead of bricks and mortar as a primary strategy.
While communities need good facilities, they also need the people to populate them. Wise grantmaking involves investing in strategies that will attract people to remain in or return back to the community to be successful. These areas will make an impact on the future: youth engagement activities, small business and entrepreneurship support, leadership development and donor education.
Butler County Area Foundation Fund – Grantmaking program focusing on four areas
After attending an NCF training session on impact grantmaking, the Butler County Area Foundation Fund FAC changed the way grants were being made. The FAC members broke away from funding the same programs year after year, and instead, invested in a program that emphasized the impact grantmaking focus areas of youth entrepreneurship, economic development and education.
O’Neill Community Foundation Fund – Prioritizes impact grantmaking
O’Neill is another community foundation fund that has made impact grantmaking a priority. It has invested in the school system, recruiting families back to Holt County, countywide economic development planning, business training, leadership development classes and undertaking donor education by reaching out to individuals and professional advisors.
Plattsmouth Community Foundation Fund – Uses media release to advertise the purpose of their grants
The Fund Advisory Committee of the Plattsmouth Community Foundation Fund combined two intuitive ideas into one great press release that announced their upcoming grant application deadlines. They were explicit in the media release about the types of grants they will award and they created a grant application form that allowed applicants to choose which account within their Fund to apply to. See a copy of the news release (pdf) and the application form (pdf).
By granting money intentionally and in ways that will create an impact, some communities have not only seen population growth, but they have also seen an immediate financial return on their investment. Various communities have reported that after making impact grants to grow their community, donors were inspired and sent in additional contributions to support the work of their affiliated funds.
Al Svajgr has been involved in cattle feeding, ranching, farming and banking in Dawson County, at Cozad, since 1977. He was chairman of the Beef Board, a national group of beef producers, so the gift made perfect sense. “All the gain I had in those animals would have been taxable if I’d sold them and then made a cash donation,” he said. “This way, I was able to give more value, because I didn’t have to pay taxes on the capital gains.”Read more →