Friday, September 27, 2013

It’s good to share the good stuff

You know, sometimes it’s just good to be able to talk about the good stuff.  During the week after our recent Annual Luncheon Cristy Moody, Director of Operations shared with our Board of Directors this statement “I hope you all agree it’s been a good week, a good month, a good year for our Foundation. “  Every day we strive to work hard to “connect” the right people, groups and funding to make your community a better place.  Our Annual Luncheon gave us an opportunity to let you know about a few of those connections at work through our speakers representing three of our ongoing initiatives.

·        Connecting Ideas: Jera Stribling, Alabama Giving

·        Connecting Philanthropy:  Natalie Adams, New College, University of Alabama

·        Connecting Leaders:  Edward R. Jackson, WACF Board Member and Cathy Wright, Clarus Consulting Group
We appreciate Jack McNeely, Publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle, writing to his subscribers about his opinion of who we are and what we are doing after attending the luncheon. I thought I would share it with you just in case you did not see it and thank you Jack for telling “our story”.

Community Foundation ‘connects’ the dots

by Jack McNeely

Publisher, Daily Mountain Eagle

I attended my second annual luncheon of the Walker Area Community Foundation along with hundreds of other business and community leaders Wednesday, and I again came away with an uplifted spirit of cooperation and optimism.

I consider these annual luncheons a pep rally of sorts, a way to energize the good folks of Walker County.

The Walker Area Community Foundation was established in 1995. It started with a $6 million investment from the sale of Walker Regional Medical Center and a goal to forever help support the charitable needs of the area and improve our quality of life.

Today, the Community Foundation has nearly $25 million in assets. Since its inception, the Foundation has directly invested nearly $10.5 million in community grants.

In 2012 alone, the Community Foundation distributed $3,626,636 in community grants and awarded $22,900 to nonprofits, including our very own Christmas Shoe Fund.

A total of 1,101 gifts were made to the Foundation in 2012 from individuals, families, organizations and businesses. Whether big or small, your contributions are the lifeblood of the successful foundation.

This year the Community Foundation has chosen a theme of “Connecting: In a word, that’s what we do.”

If you pick up a copy of the Community Foundation’s annual report, you will see an outstanding drawing by Madison Redmill, who last year as a junior at Walker High School participated in Youth Leadership Walker County.

Her artwork reflects the concept of a community that connects leaders, ideas, partners, philanthropy, nonprofits and generations.

I have worked with newspapers in several markets the size of Jasper and Walker County and none have had the luxury of a successful community foundation.

You should consider yourselves very fortunate to have such a cog that keeps the wheels of progress moving forward despite what obstacles or pitfalls may be ahead.

I applaud Community Foundation President Paul Kennedy, his dedicated staff and the volunteer board members for their commitment to helping those in need.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reed Family Fund Established

Sudie and Robert Reed are no strangers to the Walker Area Community Foundation.  As donors, they have been constant supporters of the Foundation and its mission for more than a decade.  Sudie is one of the Foundation’s original President’s Cabinet members and was instrumental in the programming stages when the foundation began.  In December 2012, the  entire Reed family, established our newest Donor Advised Fund.  The Reed Family Fund will support general philanthropy while keeping in mind the importance of serving the basic needs of Walker County families.

We asked the Reed’s a few questions on why the Walker Area Community Foundation and why now.  We think you’ll appreciate their responses.

WACF:  Why did you start the Reed Family Fund?

Reeds:  Walker County has been our home for over 40 years. Through hard work and a lot of help from the good folks in this area we have realized many successes.    What better way to say thank you to our friends and neighbors, former employees and business partners, than by setting aside money that will hopefully benefit the entire community for many years to come.

 WACF:  The Foundation, of course, is thrilled you entrusted us with your fund.  We’re curious, why did you choose a donor advised fund with the Community Foundation over beginning a private family foundation?

Reeds:  We did consider a private foundation but, in today’s world, red tape, regulations and requirements are so overwhelming, we were concerned that would take the “joy” out of our giving.  Our community is so fortunate to have this foundation in place so setting up an advised fund was the better choice for our family.  We believe the Board of Directors will thoughtfully and successfully manage the money and we have the highest confidence in the awesome staff that you will help us to see the real needs in our area, to find opportunities for betterment, and to be in touch with the “great ideas” that are out there that perhaps just need a boost to get off the ground. 

 Upon voting to accept the fund, John T. Oliver, Jr. founding board member and Past President of the Foundation responded, “the Bob Reed family is well known in this community for their involvement in and contributions to many charitable institutions and organizations.  Their recent gift to the Walker Area Community Foundation is truly amazing and certainly establishes their family as pioneers in philanthropy in our area, as well as statewide.  I am certain that this wonderful support will inspire others to think in a positive way about giving back to their community.  Gifts like this make me proud to live here.”

We look forward working with the Reed Family and are so appreciative they chose us as their partners in doing good for our community.