(May 2023) CFWNC began investing in regional affiliates more than 30 years ago. From the very beginning, affiliates launched in communities that wanted to have a vehicle to support local nonprofits with local dollars. Today, CFWNC has nine affiliates spread across 18 counties that collectively awarded $735,000 in grants last fiscal year.
Over three decades, there have been many iterations of CFWNC’s partnership with affiliates. As each fund achieved the milestone of at least $1 million in assets, the affiliate was able to undertake independent grantmaking that enabled them to address pressing needs and opportunities unique to that community. Advisory boards of local leaders and volunteers share our goal to inspire philanthropy. The structure helps affiliates invest in their communities, while CFWNC supports them in grantmaking, endowment management and complex gifts.
Many of these funds have experienced significant growth through estate gifts. Some people leave assets to add directly to the affiliate, while others establish a fund that creates additional grant opportunities in that specific community. “People value the opportunity to leave funds directed toward a place that was meaningful to them during their lives,” said Laura Herndon, Vice President, Development. “They trust their friends and neighbors to make good grant decisions as communities and needs change over time.”
“Having served on the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund Advisory Board for a decade, I have seen the impact that this Fund has made on our community,” said Joe Standaert. “My family and I want to leave a lasting legacy of support for our area and were able to do so easily by creating the Standaert Family Endowment Fund with The Community Foundation for the benefit of the BMSV Endowment Fund. We trust that the advisory board will make good grants with our Fund both now and in perpetuity.”
In some cases, an attorney or advisor contacts CFWNC about a pending estate gift. Connie Boylan worked as a nurse at Transylvania Regional Hospital after moving to Brevard. During retirement there, she earned a BA degree at Brevard College and supported the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and programs that encouraged children to enjoy and learn about the outdoors. When she died in 2021, she created a fund that will support these causes in perpetuity in Transylvania County through the Transylvania Endowment.
The opportunity to address a specific cause in a specific place has motivated several other generous people to create funds that support affiliate grantmaking. Longtime volunteers for the Transylvania Endowment established a fund designated for Transylvania nonprofits working on affordable housing, home repair and accessibility needs for low-income people. The Mib and Phil Medford Endowment Fund directs grants to projects benefitting Waynesville through the Fund for Haywood County. The Mildred Miller Fort Charitable Fund supports the arts and healthcare needs in Highlands through the Highlands Community Fund. While the funds vary in purpose and location, the impetus to give back is universal.
CFWNC benefits from the expertise and experience of our network of affiliates. With a largely rural service area the size of Vermont, the knowledge and guidance of people rooted in their communities supports our work. One of the key functions of a community foundation is to serve as a vehicle for philanthropy. Working together with affiliate funds, we build homegrown philanthropic solutions for generous people planning for future generations in the places they love.