Community Matters to Foundations

The Crawford Heritage Foundation has changed its name to the Crawford Heritage Community Foundation. Established in 1998, the organization serves all of Crawford County.

“We have always been a community foundation. Our new name makes that clear. Awareness of this important segment of the philanthropic community has grown significantly in our region. The $100 million gift our colleagues at the Erie Community Foundation received in 2007 made national headlines,” says Lisa Pepicelli Youngs, President.

Community foundations are tax-exempt public charities that work to improve the region they serve through the power of philanthropy. They differ from family and private foundations which are typically created by a small number of people and address a narrow set of issues. Any civic-minded person with the ability to make a charitable gift can create or add to a permanent endowment at a community foundation. The foundation makes grants from these funds to support programs that tackle the challenges and problems facing a community, now and in the future.

The community foundation movement began in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio. The United States is now home to more than 700 community foundations. Research conducted by the Foundation Center in 2009 found that “community foundations reported faster cumulative growth in giving than other types of foundations since 1990.” [The Foundation Center. Key Facts on Community Foundations. 2009]

“Adding the word ‘community’ to our name may be a small change, but it makes a big difference in how we define ourselves. Community is about what connects us, what we share, what we need to live full lives. It requires the participation of people from different backgrounds to make this a vibrant place. It is understanding that when we are blessed with resources, we have a responsibility to our neighbors when they are in great need,” says Christian Maher, Executive Director.