Thursday, July 23, 2009

Open Letter to Attorneys / Accountants / Estate Planners

Dear Professional Counsel / Advisor:

In 2008, the Walker Area Community Foundation (WACF) awarded $296,875 to area nonprofit organizations that will result in $1,603,143 in new and sustained initiatives for Walker County. The foundation is pleased to have financially assisted more than 100 nonprofit programs and special projects since its inception in 1995.

The WACF’s work in our community would be impossible without the generous gifts of area donors. The foundation wants you and your clients to be aware of the options in choosing how you would prefer your gifts to be utilized.

As the foundation’s charitable impact expands, so does its knowledge and understanding of our area’s unmet and under-funded needs. As part of the grant making process, the foundation collects a great deal of information about the financial integrity of potential grantees and the measurable outcome from their use of awarded foundation funding. By looking closely at each applicant, the foundation feels they have the best opportunity to wisely choose how foundation funds are allocated. This knowledge greatly enhances our ability to be good stewards of the contributions we manage on behalf of our donors.

Attorneys, Accountants, Estate and Financial Planners, as well as other professional advisors, are often faced with a delicate dilemma as they approach the subject of charitable giving – you want to discuss the many benefits of making these type gifts without recommending specific charitable causes and nonprofit organizations. The simple solution to this problem is offering your clients the opportunity to contribute to an organization like the Walker Area Community Foundation. The foundation awards funding to worthy nonprofits operating in the areas of social welfare, education, recreation, children and youth, health and medicine, the environment and arts and humanities in our community. WACF deeply appreciates each donor and each of their gifts.

In giving to the Walker Area Foundation, the donor has several choices of how they wish for their charitable gift to be disbursed back into the community.

The donor may choose to make their charitable gift directly to the Walker Area Community Foundation’s Community Growth Fund. If a donor chooses this option, the foundation will utilize the donor’s gift for the greatest good of our community. The Community Growth Fund is the SOLE source of funding for the competitive grants we make twice a year to support the 100+ nonprofits in our area.

A donor may choose to request assistance to a specific thematic area via a Field of Interest Fund, allowing the foundation to direct the income from this and similar investments in the areas of social welfare, education, recreation, children and youth, health and medicine, the environment or arts and humanities. This option is beneficial to the foundation, where the grants go to the organization(s) that demonstrates a current or substantiated need.

A donor may also choose to designate a specific nonprofit they would like to receive their charitable gift, exclusively through one of our designated funds. One example is the establishment of an Endowed Fund.

Contact our staff for specifics on any vehicle the foundation can employ to achieve yours or your clients’ wishes. For a one on one consultation please contact Paul Kennedy at (205) 302-0001w, 300-4062m or by email at .


John T. Oliver, Jr. Paul W. Kennedy
President Executive Director

POB 171 Jasper, AL 35502-0171

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Foundation wins Award for 5 CNS- VISTA Positions

WACF awarded five VISTA positions
(from the Daily Mountain Eagle
Jennifer Cohron Eagle Reporter Sunday, Jul 05, 2009

Walker County needs you.

The Walker Area Community Foundation was recently awarded five positions through AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).VISTAs make a commitment to help fight poverty by serving for one year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency.Paul Kennedy, WACF executive director, said the Foundation’s VISTAs will be working with the Health Providers Network, the Heritage Center and the Arts Alliance and Nonprofit Council.VISTAs are not paid employees. “They are under contract to the federal government to alleviate poverty and increase the capacity of organizations operating in rural America,” Kennedy said.VISTAs work no less than 32 hours per week. The Corporation for National Service provides $800 a month as a living allowance for the volunteers. Benefits such as health care and child care are also available.At the end of their service, each VISTA can choose to receive an education award worth $4,725 to pay for college or $1,200 in cash. However, Kennedy said that VISTAs get much more than money.“They get very valuable experience in the non-profit world and the work world. I also think they get an eye-opening experience for what their community is and how it functions,” he said. Kennedy said ideal VISTA candidates have a college degree and are interested in taking a year off before going to graduate school.Mothers who have raised their children and want to reenter the workforce gradually may also find the VISTA program helpful.“Maybe they’re a little hesitant about jumping into a 9 to 5 job. This is a great way to segue back in to the work world. We get the advantage of their maturity and social connections,” Kennedy said.The VISTA program, a vision of President John F. Kennedy, was founded in 1965.In April, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which authorized spending $5.7 billion and will increase the size of AmeriCorps from 75,000 positions to 250,000.Paul Kennedy said the national service program is particularly helpful now to non-profit organizations that need more people to fulfill their mission but can’t afford to pay more employees.“This is the best way that the Community Foundation can help develop capacity and sustainability in the organizations that we are trying to support in very lean times,” Kennedy said. Kennedy hopes to recruit locally for the positions, although he can recruit nationally if suitable candidates are not found within Walker County.For more information or to apply for a VISTA position, visit