It is the stories that define a community and it is within those stories that a community defines its identity. Ocala Marion County is known for its giving and caring spirit, the very hallmark of who we are as a community. Whether it be feeding the hungry and impoverished, protecting our beautiful environment, celebrating the return of one of our own heroes, or mourning the loss of one who dedicated his life to preserve and protect, we come together as community.
Brad Rogers, Ocala Star Banner Editor, captured the challenges/opportunities we face as a community in coining the phrase – the 3Es – Economy-Education-Environment. (9/14 In Our Opinion). Leveraging, developing and enhancing our community resources is essential if our community is to prosper and thrive. As Brad noted: “it’s a great place with a great location...But [we] need skilled and educated workers and a good and ever improving quality of life”.
The Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County was founded on this principle of shared giving – to commit our wealth-wisdom-work to the greater goal of community building. In our role as convener-collaborator-catalyst we are positioned to serve as that key centralized portal for focused charitable giving both for individuals and nonprofits. Through focused giving, the Community Foundation creates real impact and leverage for charitable funding in a time of greater needs and scarcer resources. The cornerstone of our multiple fund options is the DONOR ADVISED FUND. Through a Donor Advised Fund, the Community Foundation seamlessly connects donors to the causes they are passionate about and the non-profits that sustain them.
Howard Husock, Vice President/Manhattan Institute, wrote in an Opinion piece for Forbes (that also appeared in Investor’s Business Daily) that even as the current administration has sought to reduce the value of the charitable deduction, charitable giving has steadily increased having “nearly recovered fully from its decline following the 2008 financial crisis”. Mr. Husock attributes that growth to the increase in Donor Advised Funds especially personal donor advised funds in which donors direct contributions to the charities they support. He projects that the $32 billion in current DAF balances (per the National Philanthropic Trust) could grow to $495 billion by 2035 effectively raising the long standing charitable giving as 2% of GDP (gross domestic product) to as high as 2.2% which translates to an estimated $125 billion increase in charitable giving. (Manhattan Institute Civic Report: Growing Giving – American Philanthropy and the Potential of Donor Advised Funds)*
Astonishing numbers on a national scale but the potential impact at the local level is just as significant. Mr. Husock calls this rise in Donor Advised Funds the “new means for mass philanthropy”. Designed not only for the truly wealthy donor, Donor Advised Funds through our Community Foundation are available for an opening deposit of $5000. Through the generosity of our donors we are building community by investing in arts and culture, economic development, education and social services—all with the goal of building a vibrant community. “Growing Giving”* through increasing the number of DAFs with the Community Foundation is our focus in 2015. Won’t you join us? Be a part of your Community Foundation and continue to reflect that spirit of giving that is the hallmark of this community.
*”Growing Giving” is the title of Mr. Husock’s Civic Report for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.