Our Mission, Vision and Values
The mission of the Community Foundation of South Lake County is to provide leadership to enhance the quality of life in South Lake County by identifying community needs and seeking philanthropic support as permanent funding to meet those needs.
Every community has a vested interest employing processes and practices that promote and provide for the physical, intellectual,
vocational, social, and emotional well-being of the members.
It is the responsibility of each member of the community to encourage and contribute to those processes. As a member of the community, we fully acknowledge and accept that responsibility and will employ a proactive and involved effort to identify, enlist, and assist the resources most capable of resolving those issues and obstacles that would obstruct our fellow citizen from realizing their full potential or enjoying the benefits our community has to offer.
We welcome and encourage community dialogue intended to assist our effort to more effectively and efficiently address community issues. We acknowledge the community’s right to expect prudent management of the assets entrusted to our care and will employ practical and vigorous accountability and stewardship practices.
What exactly is a Community Foundation?
When most of us think of charities, we envision a group of people interested in making a difference in a particular field of interest or specific aspect of people’s lives. One charity, for example, may devote its energies to curing disease, while another may focus on environmental protection. Any given community, however, has an array of needs that charities can address. Community foundations can be considered the nonprofit equivalent of locally owned businesses and were created to foster a sense of community and cohesiveness in charitable giving. Donors are given the flexibility to focus their philanthropic efforts on the specific needs that a community may have over time.
The first community foundation was founded in Cleveland, OH in 1914. By the end of the decade, other major cities had foundations of their own. Today there are over 650 in the United States, and the concept has begun to spread all over the world. With combined assets of more than $35 billion, community foundations contribute more than $2.6 billion annually in grants to nonprofits.
Community Foundations have a number of advantages over other charitable organizations. First, foundations are local entities with deep roots in the particular community they serve. Second, foundation staff and outside professional advisors who work with the community foundations have a wealth of expertise in assisting donors to realize both the maximum tax benefit allowed by law and the biggest impact from their giving. Community foundations pride themselves on providing personalized service and tailoring donor-specific solutions. Third, community foundations can provide a one-stop solution for donors wishing to positively impact their communities; a donor can make agreements with a community foundation that leaves flexibility in both the timing and disbursement of gifts to particular charities.
Additionally, where other charities may be unfamiliar with accepting certain kinds of gifts such as appreciated stock, real estate, collectibles or other property, community foundations have the expertise to unlock the potential of these gifts. Foundations can serve as clearinghouses for gifts by pooling contributions from multiple donors and creating endowment for a perpetual, sustained impact on the community. Finally, when it comes to sophisticated charitable planning, community foundation expertise is unrivaled. The Community Foundation of South Lake, for example, may work with an outside attorney to establish a charitable trust that will benefit both the donor’s family and a local charity. We might also set up an endowment fund designed to allow the donor to make gifts in support of the charity’s immediate and long term needs. By keeping current with relevant tax laws and legislation, community foundations achieve reputations as local experts in both planned giving and complex financial planning.
The Community Foundation of South Lake was formed on June 30, 1995 as the result of an agreement between the South Lake Hospital and Orlando Health (formerly Orlando Regional Healthcare). As a Community Foundation, we derive our granting capacity from citizens like you. Your gifts to us are invested to strike a balance between steady growth and income and preservation of assets. Investment income is used for grants that improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.
The Community Foundation of South Lake is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, charitable organization (view our IRS Determination Letter). We operate under the principle of endowment or perpetuity, meaning that gifts made to the Foundation will grow and continue to impact your community now and forever. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Community Foundation of South Lake has grown to manage nearly $10 million in assets and has cumulatively awarded more than $4 million to local nonprofits and $400,000 in scholarships to students from South Lake County.
In February 2008, the South Lake County community celebrated the dedication of the George Hovis & Don Wickham Community and Nonprofit Resource Center. Completion of the new Community Foundation offices has ushered in an exciting new era for the Community Foundation of South Lake and has greatly enhanced the range of services that we can offer to both our donors and the nonprofits we serve. Additionally, the George Hovis & Don Wickham Community and Nonprofit Resource Center has helped us solidify our position as the local leader in philanthropy.
By managing and investing donor funds, connecting donors with causes they feel passionately about, enabling donors to make informed decisions through research, and helping strengthen nonprofits we serve through education and grants, we at the Community Foundation are fulfilling our mission to provide leadership to enhance quality of life by identifying community needs and seeking philanthropic support as permanent funding to meet those needs.