KC Belitz: The power and flexibility of charitable dollars

Originally published in the Columbus Telegram

Today I want to celebrate or preview three exciting examples of “Active Hope” being put to work in our region through the Nebraska Community Foundation network.

Put simply, Boone County and the Boone County Foundation Fund are working hard and “awesomeness” is happening around the county as a result. They get to celebrate a tremendous milestone early next month!

The Boone County Foundation Fund hopes you can be with them for the grand opening celebration of Boone Beginnings early childhood education center Nov. 7 in Albion. Boone Beginnings is a monumental achievement for a community of any size, and really quite extraordinary for Boone County. It is a fantastic example of the magnitude of assets available in rural Nebraska!

On Nov. 7, you are invited for a tour of the Boone Beginnings Center at 2 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., they will have the official dedication and reveal of the Donor Recognition Wall. Following the brief ceremony, you are invited to a reception in the Boone Beginnings Multi-Purpose Room.

I guarantee if you come, you’ll walk away inspired!

The next two items aren’t quite as concrete so I’m going to provide more of a sneak peek of goodness coming to Columbus and Butler County.

In the days to come, you’ll see information from the Columbus Area Future Fund about a new effort to encourage Columbus to be an even more welcoming community. Building on past success in welcoming a more diverse population to their place, this effort is going to raise the bar and “put CAFF’s money where their mouth is” in welcoming new residents to the Columbus area.

It seems eminently clear that more talented, hard-working people are needed in the Columbus region. The last number I heard from the Columbus Area Chamber was 1,400 open jobs. 1,400! That number is impacting not just employers, but really everyone in the community. As such, I’m really grateful and excited that CAFF recognized the opportunity and has spent several months planning for a unique effort to try to help.

Again, not everything is set but I will encourage you to start thinking about how you, your family, your friends, and organizations you belong to would make Columbus a more welcoming place if you had some dollars to use.

Finally, I’ll close for today with more inspiration from Butler County. This is building on the amazing success story from the Butler County Area Foundation Fund successfully raising more than the required $200,000 for their unrestricted endowment to receive a $100,000 matching challenge from the Sherwood Foundation. As that has significantly grown their grantmaking capacity in Butler County (and will continue to do so), the local committee has been intentional about thinking strategically about how to impact the future of Butler County through these gifts.

Through that strategic approach, BCAFF has landed on an investment that builds on a Butler County asset to help make a truly significant step forward in their place. It is truly inspiring to see these volunteers dream bigger about what they can do and the change they can support in Butler County!

Put simply, BCAFF is thinking big! This new investment will build on a strong legacy for the Fund as they mark their 40th year of existence and have already invested nearly $1 million back into in Butler County. Watch for this exciting news coming soon!

Just three more examples today of how local volunteers are using the power and flexibility of charitable dollars to create change in their hometowns that would otherwise not occur. It’s why I’m grateful to be part of the NCF network that is the platform from which these dreams launch!

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