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.