By: Esra Khalil

Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been committed to growing a local endowment that provides lasting support for our region through local grantmaking. Early endowed gifts from the Campbell, Danielson, Firstenburg and Lynch families planted seeds that eventually sprouted our first four grants in 1988.

What started as a disjointed collection of individual funds became a consolidated grantmaking program in 2004 when the Community Giving Endowment Fund was launched. Then described as a “permanent savings account for community needs,” it found a niche offering small grants that created positive impacts for young people. Over the years, the fund grew thanks to several large gifts, countless smaller donations and steady returns on its pooled investments.

A large check being presented with a smile.

Today, the Community Giving Fund is a primary source of grantmaking in southwest Washington, with a current value of $5.8 million and more than $6 million awarded since its inception. The average grant is now sixteen times larger than those first four awards, but the biggest transformation doesn’t show up on a balance sheet.

Originally designed to improve the quality of life by addressing broad community needs, the Community Giving Fund now has a strategic focus on interrupting the cycle of poverty. By applying larger grants toward a single issue, the Community Foundation is achieving greater impact and demonstrating the important role endowments play in addressing the changing needs of a dynamic community.

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About The Author

Esra Khalil

Esra joined the Community Foundation in 2018 after working in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years. She has direct experience in culturally-specific service delivery, program development, grant writing and front-line fundraising. In her spare time Esra is an avid reader, loves a good film, travels when she can and relishes the moments of calm with her husband between all the joyful chaos created by her two kids.