Peter A. Dunn

Point of View

Giving Voice Fall 2021: Point of View

The Community Foundation does a lot of things – and I often find as I am out and about in the community that some aspects of our work are more well-known than others. One area of service that we provide – agency funds for local nonprofit organizations – is a good example of our work that is not broadly understood.

For more than 40 years, we have been working with local nonprofit organizations to help them build permanent funds – endowments at the Community Foundation that are designated to support their efforts with streams of income on a regular basis. Today, we administer 80 agency funds for a wide-range of local organizations across our five-county Central New York footprint. This type of fund has been getting more popular. More than half of these funds have been created in just the last five years. For us, this work is fundamentally about building the capacity of the local nonprofit ecosystem to create permanent charitable resources. Through our agency fund program, we are able to share our expertise to support local organizations in new and different ways.

We often find that nonprofit leaders have a modest amount of resources to start with, are challenged with the best way to invest and grow these resources over time, and want to focus their limited staff and volunteer resources on donor engagement and cultivation rather than on the mechanics of fund administration. We aren’t an investment manager or advisor – but we do know a lot about best practices for good fiscal stewardship and working with donors on all sorts of large and complex gifts.

Managing a fund itself is one component of these relationships – but we often find a deeper level of engagement. We have had agency fund partners ask us to manage the process for endowment campaign gift acknowledgments and multi-year pledge data tracking and reminders. We have held coaching sessions for nonprofit board leaders and staff members on structuring conversations around endowment gifts and bequests. We have facilitated online gifts and gifts of stock and provided counsel on marketing messages. We have seen agencies reach goals that they weren’t initially sure that they could attain, including reaching goals for endowed funds that surpass $1 million for the first time.

In our experience, investing in capacity in this way can create new levels of confidence for agency leaders and partners – and additional legitimacy for donor conversations and larger commitments from key supporters. Ultimately, we believe that creating permanent charitable capital is a good approach for helping our local nonprofit partners to move from surviving from year to year to thriving over the long term.

Related Stories

What we are up to staff image
Topics April 23, 2024

What We Are Up To: CNYCF Staff Updates

Learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive ...

Publications April 22, 2024

Beyond Great Expectations: An Unexpected Gift with Unending Impact

The unexpected and unrestricted nature of Lucy’s bequest echoes the quiet yet profound impact individuals ...

Koerner Family outside
Publications April 22, 2024

The Koerner Family Funds: Like Parents, like Daughters

Education was a cornerstone for the Koerner kids, instilled by their successful and civic-minded parents. ...

Woman standing in office
Stories March 19, 2024

Giving Seamlessly: Leyla Morgillo

Giving has always been intrinsic to Leyla Morgillo's being whether it be through her time ...

hand holding growing money
Publications March 5, 2024

FAQS: A Snapshot of Clients’ Tax-Time Charitable Giving Questions

With the year is in full swing, now is a good time for advisors to ...

Men gardening
Blogs March 5, 2024

A safe space for Deaf New Americans to develop education, leadership, and life skills without limitation

Monu Chhetri, founder & CEO of Deaf New American Advocacy, Inc. explains how her participation ...

Group of people at event
Publications March 5, 2024

Collaborative Engagement with Nonprofit Partners

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Granting Matters

Woman sitting with young children
Publications March 5, 2024

Meet Our New President & CEO

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Cover Story

What we are up to staff image
Topics April 23, 2024

What We Are Up To: CNYCF Staff Updates

Learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive ...

Publications April 22, 2024

Beyond Great Expectations: An Unexpected Gift with Unending Impact

The unexpected and unrestricted nature of Lucy’s bequest echoes the quiet yet profound impact individuals ...

Koerner Family outside
Publications April 22, 2024

The Koerner Family Funds: Like Parents, like Daughters

Education was a cornerstone for the Koerner kids, instilled by their successful and civic-minded parents. ...

Woman standing in office
Stories March 19, 2024

Giving Seamlessly: Leyla Morgillo

Giving has always been intrinsic to Leyla Morgillo's being whether it be through her time ...

hand holding growing money
Publications March 5, 2024

FAQS: A Snapshot of Clients’ Tax-Time Charitable Giving Questions

With the year is in full swing, now is a good time for advisors to ...

Men gardening
Blogs March 5, 2024

A safe space for Deaf New Americans to develop education, leadership, and life skills without limitation

Monu Chhetri, founder & CEO of Deaf New American Advocacy, Inc. explains how her participation ...

Group of people at event
Publications March 5, 2024

Collaborative Engagement with Nonprofit Partners

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Granting Matters

Woman sitting with young children
Publications March 5, 2024

Meet Our New President & CEO

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Cover Story

View More