A community can die for the lack of a helping hand; however, it can survive hard times if resources are laid aside to maintain continuity. You can help a community long into the future by supporting an endowed trust fund held by your local community foundation. Through good times and bad, a community endowed trust fund ensures the community will not dry up and blow in the wind.
Asking The Big Question
An endowed trust fund asks every citizen, not just the obviously prosperous community leaders, “Will you consider adding a bequest in your will naming your community fund?” The question is simple, polite, and appropriate when presented to everyone through community promotion.
Unifying The Community
Every community has several charitable needs such as the volunteer fire company, local ambulance service, community park, community center, public library, school athletics, and local food bank. A community endowed trust fund asks you to give to support all of these without disrupting long-standing loyalties to individual charities. It is a unique opportunity to add to the whole community.
Building A Reserve
Holding to a budget is a good thing but it does not protect from exceptionally long events such as a decline in population. Like every individual, a community needs to build a reserve against rough times. Timber, gas, coal, farming, and manufacturing will rise or fall eventually, but community needs remain. A contingency fund can only be used once; it is not a long-term resource.
Placing an endowed trust fund with a community foundation means it will never leave the community with a bank merger, it will never become the private fund of one official or click, it will always be professionally managed, its records remain open to any citizen, and its safety is guarded by a community board, a local fund committee, and state supervision.
Avoiding Crisis Depletion
When faced with a desperate need for immediate funds, a local council or board will always turn to the easiest source, and the easiest source is funds under their authority. The problem is no trust account is protected from a raid during a crisis unless it has legally independent trustees protecting it as an endowment. Nobody can ever raid a community foundation endowed trust fund–those endowments are held in perpetuity.
Expecting The Unexpected
New problems and charitable needs arise as some familiar needs receded. No one can predict what future needs will be; but you can prepare your community by supporting a fund open to appeals based on contemporary needs.
Stimulating Good Deeds
When you see within your community the good work resulting from an endowed trust fund, you are often stimulated in other ways to reach out and help. You see that good deeds are noticed and respected by your community. You feel pride in being where you are.
Teaching By Example
Younger siblings, children, and grandchildren know your values by your actions. They learn responsibilities and loyalties by modeling after you. Your giving now can live on in memory and influence way beyond your lifetime.
Levelling The Giving
Giving to one fund means strength is gained through the number of participants rather than individual amounts. Large and small donations help in the same way by working for a common cause. Every gift improves the whole.
Giving in memory of a loved one or family reminds the community to not forget how those lives were lived. The memorial is not an unread plaque or a gravestone turned into a public marker, but a continually repeated list of honor kept alive through renewal and community appreciation.
You come home to visit and look after affairs needing your attention. When your gift and your family name are tied to the community, the years don’t matter. You have reason to return home. A community endowed trust fund is a welcome home sign imprinted within each person who has given and each person whose family is memorialized. Charles Marlin
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