Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Foundation’

Five of the yokozuna sumo foundations of Ohio and Pennsylvania have issued a report The Recession’s Impact On The Safety Net In Ohio And Pennsylvania hoping to capture the attention of the new administration as well as Congress.  The five are The Cleveland Foundation, The Columbus Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation and Toledo Community Foundation.  There must have been a mutual understanding that Akron Community Foundation, Erie Community Foundation and The Youngstown Foundation were not of their stature.  Nothing said aloud you understand.

This material is freshly dated January 10, 2009.  The recession has dramatically increased human needs in our region.  First-time users are fraying an already fatigued and inadequate safety net for the young and old, under employed and unemployed.

They outline “a jump in first-time user demand on food banks ranging from 9 – 46% across all five urban areas.”  They found a “decreased capacity of food banks to respond to the needs given the 5.5% increase in food costs, 50% increase in distribution costs, 8% decrease in donated food and funding cuts.”  Other factors are an “increase in individuals receiving food stamps in the range of 4 – 15%, and “3 – 5% increased participation in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.”

Requests for help and assistance to avoid eviction and foreclosure are increasing by 22% and 50%.  Requests for utility assistance are up 25% and 75% in some areas.

The waiting list for child care subsidy has doubled in Pennsylvania to 7,000 and growning.

Requests for transportation assistance are up from 38% to 70%.  This means that in every area of need they studied the requests for help are overwhelming.  Neither the community foundations nor the entire nonprofit sector can give more than a thin of soup of help.  This is deprivation on a large scale.

The report estimates that the five urban areas will need $1.79 billion in supplemental funding over the next two years.  The report adds, “This figure does not include services to meet historic ‘chronic’ needs.”  If the government does not radically change the future, the future will change us.  The report “estimates that by 2010, there could be as many as 1.1 million persons unemployed across Pennsylvania and Ohio.”  Add to that 1.1 million the families of the unemployed, the under employed and families, and the elderly with limited income you have the population of a third world country under massive stress.

We instantly know that dealing with this ever growing crisis is beyond what an individual can do.  It is beyond what a state government can handle.  It may prove to be too much even for the Federal government.  As the crisis is rushing toward us and the resolution is not in sight, this does not mean that individuals are helpless or that paralysis is acceptable.  If we have a loaf and fish we need to share.  We need to let random acts of kindness become routine.  When others need us most is when we can live the richest part of our lives.  Charles Marlin

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When Frederick Harris Goff, president of the Cleveland Trust and Cleveland civic leader, created the Cleveland Foundation he did more than create the first community foundation in the United States.  He began a philanthropic movement that has changed how America and the world handles charity.  WINGS, the Worldwide Initiatives For Grantmaker Support, has published its 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report, my source for this bit of history and current data on community foundations in North America.

The United States leads all nations with 775 community foundations although that number does not account for the incredible expansion of affiliate community foundations such as Clarion County Community Foundation.  It is absurd that only administrative foundations are counted with no recognition of the affiliates.  Canada is second in number in North America but drops to third worldwide behind Germany.  Canada reports 163, Germany 190, and Mexico has 17.  BPP, the US-Mexico Philanthropy Partnership, is a partnership of community foundations on both sides of the border, 6 in Mexico and 13 in the US.  The purpose of BPP is to improve life for low-income border families and communities by building up the foundations and local commitment.

The chronology is easy to follow once the Cleveland Foundation was established in 1914.  In 1921 the Winnipeg Foundation became the first community foundation in Canada.  In 1949 the early organizational efforts began that eventually resulted in the Council on Foundations in the US.  In 1969 community foundations in the US received preferred tax status of public charities under the Tax Reform Act of 1969.  In 1985 with the help of the Ford Foundation and other funders, the Puerto Rico Community Foundation became the first in the Caribbean.  In 1992 the Canadian community foundations established the Community Foundations of Canada.  Mexico’s entry into community foundations is a little harder to follow because a great deal of variance in organization was present initially, plus they continue to struggle with accounting standards for the nonprofit sector to allow for transparency of operations.  Work is progressing so the problem will be solved at some point.

There are community foundations in 51 countries and active development in others.  The World Bank Community Foundation Initiative, the WINGS Global Fund for Community Foundations, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Soros initiatives have played a very big role in the expansion worldwide and will continue to do so for a long time.  The moral principles upon which the community foundation movement is based are universal in appeal so there is no stopping what Freddie began.  I barely knew him, but I think he would say, “Right on, Brother.”  Charles Marlin

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In 1914 Frederick Harris Goff (1858-1923), a lawyer and banker, created the Cleveland Foundation, the first community foundation in America and the world. It was a period in Cleveland civic history when new ways to organize and make the city’s charitable efforts more effective were being tried. His idea and leadership made the Cleveland Foundation the first foundation to be run by a community for a community, accessible to all donors whether of modest or wealthy means, true to a published mission but also flexible to change with changing society, secular and nondiscriminatory in regard to religion, culture, race,or any differences. He also advocated the foundation board look at the “Dead Hand” of trust fund instructions that no longer served a viable charitable goal. He wanted the rededication of obsolete trust funds to be done openly by a board responsible to the community.

Within a short time Goff’s new concept was being used to create other community foundations across America. The first Canadian community foundation was formed in 1921. The Great Depression and world wars disrupted the growth but after WWII the concept spread over South America, the United Kingdom, Africa, Australia, and Western Europe. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe joined in the creation of community foundations with some smaller countries using a single community foundation to serve the entire country.

There is no way to know how many community foundations there are in America today because the number compiled includes senior foundations only. No counting of affiliates is made, so it is anyone’s guess at the big total that counts all community foundations. A guess of around 1,500 may not be far off. At the time Goff was serving Cleveland he put into action a world class concept. Hopefully he realized some of this reach before he died.

Goff also created the first living trusts in America. For a man whose work has extended into every American community and a big chunk of the rest of the world, one would expect to find at least one scholarly work on him, but not true. A scan of the web references to Goff shows everyone copying someone else. The freshest source on Goff is http://findagrave.com/ which gives a shot of his grave marker in the Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, plot Section 10. The Cleveland Foundation has a philanthropic service award named in his honor.

Since writing the above I received in the mail a little book by Nathaniel R. Howard, The Trust For All Time: The Story Of The Cleveland Foundation And The Community Trust Movement, the third publication on Goff I have fished out of the backwater of Ohio history, this time with the help of Tess Kindig of Garrison House Books for only $15.95. The book has lots of fresh material on Goff I think you will enjoy. Tess may be able to find a copy for you, so try her at http://www.garrisonhousebooks.com  Charles Marlin

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