It All Started With An Idea...100 Years Ago

Betsy.Day.2014.smallA little over 100 years ago in Cleveland, banker, lawyer, and former mayor Frederick H. Goff had a novel idea. His vision was to pool the charitable resources of Cleveland's philanthropic minded citizens, living and dead, into a single, impactful, and permanent endowment for the betterment of his community.

Called a "community trust," the interest from the trust would forever benefit "such charitable purposes as will best make for the mental, moral, and physical improvement of the inhabitants of Cleveland." As the word spread of this giving phenomenon, the foundation began reshaping the way community members care for one another not just in Greater Cleveland, but around the nation and the world.

That first foundation spawned a global movement. Within five years, community foundations were created in Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Buffalo, NY.

Now, more than 700 community foundations in the United States collectively manage over $40 billion in charitable assets and distribute some $4.5 billion a year to meet community needs. Moreover, the community foundation movement has spread worldwide with more than 1,700 community foundations serving their communities across the globe.

Our community foundation was started in 1986, which is 72 years after The Cleveland Foundation. Our founders' vision was the same as Mr. Goff's – to forever benefit the improvement of Frederick County. And, improve the county we have.

For example, did you know that because people in Frederick County care:

• More than $38 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded to Frederick County nonprofits and deserving students since our inception.
• Some of the county's best loved projects were supported with Community Foundation funds, such as the beautiful flower baskets that decorate downtown Frederick, the trolley renovation in Thurmont, the bridge mural in Brunswick, benches in Baker Park, and the rebuilding of the Catoctin Aqueduct on the C&O Canal, to name just a few.
• Local donors create funds (more than 660 now!) to support their interests, such as community grantsmaking, the arts, health care, human services, scholarship programs, educational institutions, recreation, animal care, senior services, historic preservation, and other community causes.
• More than 23,580 individuals, families, businesses, civic groups, foundations and nonprofits have supported our efforts by creating or adding to our 650+ funds.
• More than 300 individuals have notified the Community Foundation that they have remembered one or more of our funds in their estate provisions.

Just think....this all started because of a man in Cleveland who came up with a revolutionary way for community members to enhance their home area.

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first community foundation, we take a moment to thank Mr. Goff for his leadership in starting this important movement that eventually caught on here in our home community and continues to benefit all of us in ways that are For Good. Forever. For Frederick County.

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