Taking a page from CNBC...

Jun. 23, 2017

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Author: 
Diane Silva, Director of Philanthropy

I’m feeling reflective these days as I have officially spent four years at London Community Foundation.  With that, I can say that my passion and excitement in my role continues to thrive (no lulls here!).  When I take a hard look at what is fueling my passion, at the end of the day I can say,  it’s the people - the sense of opportunity, hope for the future, and belief that London Community Foundation is the place that is going to (forever) impact our community! 

This sense of optimism and opportunity isn’t self-fabricated or artificial; it is real because it is evident in all the people we see step forward to the Foundation, whether they are donors seeking philanthropic advice, or not-for-profits seeking funding.   

So, imagine my excitement when I came across an article featured in CNBC with this headline: “When Silicon Valley execs suddenly make billions, they turn to this man to help them give it away”.  They are talking about the CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Emmett Carson.  It’s a great read!

The article resonated with me because this is exactly what we’re seeing at London Community Foundation.  Sure, Silicon Valley has world famous fund holders such as the founder of Facebook, Mark Zukerberg, and of course they are significantly larger than our Foundation. Nevertheless, London Community Foundation donors are equally sophisticated and strategic with their giving.  They too, lean on the expertise of the Foundation to ensure that they are making the greatest impact in the areas they are targeting.

Of course, it’s my dream to one day see London Community Foundation reach the same level as Silicon Valley; however, I don’t think it’s impossible.  We live in a thriving community.  London is currently the 11th largest city in Canada. It has a large and internationally renowned health care sector with leading researchers, globally recognized educational institutions, a growing tech sector that is attracting talent from near and far, and countless entrepreneurs that we don’t brag enough about!  All of these factors suggest that we have the potential to do more, and I believe that day will come. 

The signs are there, especially when I’m talking to donors who are planning on giving to the Foundation through their will.  Just the other day we had an anonymous donor declare a $10M gift upon their passing.  In addition, after doing an extensive audit on all active files where donors have declared a gift to London Community Foundation in their will, we discovered the Foundation has $45M in future gifts.  If this isn’t an endorsement for London Community Foundation then I don’t know what is! 

I believe there are several factors that make community foundations appealing to donors.  First, they are stewards of philanthropic wealth, ensuring that the capital is always giving back, fulfilling donors’ intentions, forever.  We see this in action every day, and that too, fuels my excitement.

Another great distinction is that community foundations are not-for-profit institutions that provide a space for philanthropists to be creative and innovative with their giving.  Community foundations also elevate donors’ giving through our network and community knowledge. Countless donors have told us that partnering with the Foundation has allowed their philanthropy to flourish. 

Furthermore, after more than 60 years in London, Ontario, with over $75M in assets, the Foundation is now granting  $3 – $4M each year!  That’s a steady source of funding without fundraising campaigns.  In addition, the Foundation is using a portion of its assets for impact investing, magnifying the impact of our work in the community and around the world. The endowment model continues to prove it is relevant in today’s ever changing environment. 

 So, for those of you sitting on the sidelines, take a page from CNBC.  The only difference is that you don’t have to be a Billionaire! 

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