A Brief History of Community Foundations

Community foundations came into being at a time of major changes in the structure of philanthropy, particularly in the United States. While charity met the immediate needs of those less fortunate, it did not seem to provide solutions for lasting change.

In response wealthy people such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Sr. established large private foundations. Many of these foundations believed that by studying the root causes of a problem and addressing them, the large social issues of the day could be conquered.

It was during this time that Frederick Goff, who worked at the Cleveland Trust Company came up with the idea of managing multiple trusts as one entity in a community trust, chest or foundation. The concept would also give citizens of more modest means the opportunity to pool their resources and do what these large private foundations did and that was to provide support for those addressing societal issues but at a more local level.

The first community foundation was established in 1914 in Cleveland with others soon being set up across the country. The first community foundation in Canada was established in Winnipeg in 1921.

The Comox Valley Community Foundation was established in 1996, a late entry in the world of community giving, but since then has been able to provide financial assistance to over 60 community groups who are working hard to make the Comox Valley a better place to live for everyone.

Right from the beginning the Foundation has operated as an independent charitable organization created by and for the residents of the Comox Valley. Governed by a volunteer Board of community minded citizens, the Foundation has disbursed over 1 million dollars since 1998 to support local charitable organizations and individuals through grants, scholarships and bursaries.

To find out more and how you too can help build a better community, visit the Foundation’s website at www.cvcfoundation.org

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