By: Anne Digenis

Every fundholder has a distinct reason for giving, but they all started by asking what a Community Foundation offers them. The answer: flexibility. That is why our diverse list of fundholders continues to find new ways to give through the Community Foundation that fulfill their goals and sometimes even their families. Here are just a sampling of reasons that led donors to direct their philanthropy through the Foundation.

A WAY TO TARGET LOCAL COMMUNITY NEEDS:  Hugh and Mair Lewis have loved living in downtown Vancouver for the last seven years, but they also feel connected to Longview, Washington because of the time they spend at their cabin on the Kalama River. It is this connection that inspired them to give to the Cowlitz Community Endowment Fund, an open fund focused on bringing new growth and energy to that region’s increasing philanthropic needs and endeavors. While they have recognized this need, they prefer to have the Community Foundation decide which causes best serve the region. Knowing that the grant committee is comprised of some of Cowlitz County’s most outstanding citizens, the Lewises were confident that their gift would be invested and managed with care for the benefit of a healthier, more vibrant Cowlitz County.

A WAY TO CUSTOMIZE THEIR PHILANTHROPY: Roughly 1,380 miles northwest of Vancouver rests the town of Cordova, Alaska and the home of 205 students at Cordova High School. While Cordova is known for its commercial fishing, one of our newest donors, Percy Conrad, says the town’s compassion and generosity are truly unforgettable. When he arrived in 1936, a gracious shopkeeper credited him a suit so he could work for the railroad. That kindness persisted throughout Percy’s 50 years in Cordova and eventually inspired him to return the favor by establishing the Percy and Laura Conrad Memorial Scholarship Fund. This customized fund benefits Cordova High School graduates who are pursuing majors in marine biology at either the University of Alaska or the University of Washington. It also demonstrates the Foundation’s ability to meet the unique motivations of and requests from our donors.

Tim Welch and DaughtersA WAY TO STRENGTHEN FAMILY VALUES:  Tim Welch raised his daughters to follow in his charitable  footsteps. Now grown, each is charitably inclined, but Welch saw some untapped potential. He thought they had more to gain as a family, and as philanthropists, if they could coordinate their efforts. That thought inspired him to host one of our philanthropic advisors at the annual Welch reunion in Breckenridge, Colo. Family philanthropy was the theme as our advisor explained how the family could utilize ongoing contributions to the Welch Family Foundation as a conduit for their collective philanthropy. That meeting showed the family how their Donor Advised Fund works, and how they could use Facebook to determine grant recommendations as a group. For Tim and his wife, Lee Hutton Welch, it presented the perfect solution to help strengthen their family ties and values.

A WAY TO ARRANGE COMPLEX GIFTS:  Jack and Jane Artz always recognized and celebrated the beauty, gifts and uniqueness of individuals less fortunate than they, and specifically those affected by hearing and speech communication obstacles. Developing technology and solutions for these disadvantaged people was Jackís profession, but also his passion. The couple demonstrated that passion by opening the Artz Charitable Remainder Unitrust to provide permanent support to this and other causes of personal significance. The financial benefits of establishing a designated fund through a bequest gift made their investment a win-win for their family, as well as the individuals supported by their fund.

These are just a few ways that illustrate what a Community Foundation for Southwest Washington offers donors. However, there are many more opportunities and strategies that can be tailored to your financial needs and charitable goals. Finding out how we can structure a giving plan that works for you starts by sitting down and talking about your philanthropic vision, personal values and passions. Our staff is always ready to have that conversation, so feel free to contact us today and get started on your charitable plan.

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About The Author

Anne Digenis

Born in Seattle and raised in Portland, Anne Digenis is a graduate of Clark College and has resided in Vancouver for over 30 years. Anne has been working at the Foundation since 1997, providing ongoing assistance to donors by matching their charitable interests with community needs.