Joliet, IL – The Community Foundation of Will County celebrated with donors, Board members and nonprofit leaders at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Philanthropy held on May 4, 2016 and hosted by Lewis University.
Ten years ago visionaries from the community started a unique nonprofit from scratch…with nothing. A partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, was an important block on which to build The Community Foundation of Will County. “By nature we are designed to be an endowment building foundation, where we want growth in assets, and then use the earnings off them to improve the quality of life for people throughout Will County…and, like building resources to retire, that takes time,” said Michael Trench, Executive Director of The Community Foundation of Will County.
Since the beginning, The Chicago Community Trust has provided $2.3 million in support for local use, which was especially important in the early years. This was used for grantmaking when other funds didn’t exist yet, and to cover operations so that The Community Foundation was not competing with the nonprofits the Foundation is designed to serve. That support gave this new organization time, and opportunity, to do a different kind of fundraising and work on building its own endowments to be used for grantmaking and covering operations.
Beyond the $2.3 million from the Chicago Community Trust, another $3.7 million has been raised locally. Now at over $3.2 million in assets held in 57 different Funds, The Community Foundation has come a long way in 10 years. Twenty percent of those dollars support operations; twenty-one percent support grantmaking; six percent are designated or restricted by donors for specific purposes; and the largest portion, over fifty percent at $1.7 million, are in Donor Advised Funds created by charitably inclined people of this community to support the causes that they value and cherish, most of which are right here in Will County. The Community Foundation also knows of nearly $15 million in assets that donors have indicated will be left to the Foundation through their estates, making The Community Foundation custodian of their charitable legacy. The Community Foundation of Will County has a good future on the horizon.
Over the past ten year, the Foundation has been partnering with local nonprofits to improve the quality of life for residents. Since the beginning, the Foundation has awarded over $1 million in local grants through its annual Community Partner Grant program, and individual donors have recommended another $600,000 in grants from their funds – for $1.6 million in charitable impact in our community. Donor advised grants have exceeded The Foundation’s own for a couple years, and last year many helped increase Community Partner Grantmaking by over fifty percent. All this reflects success in the mission of “advancing philanthropy” in Will County.
The Community Foundation of Will County has been built by many individuals who want to work together to improve their communities. “The Community Foundation of Will County has come a long way, but we still have a long way to go,” noted Ed Dollinger, founding Board Chair of The Community Foundation of Will County. Terry Mazany, CEO & President of The Chicago Community Trust asked guest to think about how they would like to be a part of the future of Will County. “What is important to you and how would you like to participate?” asked Mazany. For more information about how The Community Foundation of Will County provides service to donors who want to improve the quality of life in their community, contact Michael Trench, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (815)744-9223.