Centre Foundation to host Centre Gives again in 2013

Centre GivesLast year, Centre Foundation created a brand new giving event that took the county by storm. 2,847 gifts totaling about $415,000 were made to 74 nonprofits that serve Centre County during Centre Gives in 2012. an additional $110,000 in matching funds and prizes were provided by Centre Foundation.

Centre Foundation employees Erin Rowley (left) and Sarah Sciabica talk about Centre Gives during the Centre Gives kickoff event.

Centre Foundation employees Erin Rowley (left) and Sarah Sciabica talk about Centre Gives during the Centre Gives kickoff event.

Because of the great success of the inaugural Centre Gives, we’re excited to bring this great event to our area again in 2013! The event will once again feature those matching funds and prizes, but there are also some differences this year. Centre Gives will take place about a month earlier than last year, beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22 and ending at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 23. In addition, Centre Foundation has taken it upon itself to pay the event’s website management fees, making donations subject to just 3% credit card fees.

Centre Foundation kickoff

Attendees discuss ways to reach out to potential donors during the Centre Gives kickoff event.

The event is still a few months away, but we’re already busy preparing for it. We held a kickoff event last week, in which dozens of nonprofit administrators gathered to learn more about Centre Gives and brainstorm ways to make the event even more successful this year. Check out Centre Foundation on Facebook to see more photos from the event.

We’ll have more info on Centre Gives as it gets closer. In the meantime, mark your calendar so that, on May 22 & 23, you can log onto CentreGives.org to make a difference in our community.

-Erin

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Centre Foundation awarded more than $1.3 million to nonprofit organizations in 2012

We are pleased to announce that in 2012, we awarded $1,387,000 in grants to deserving nonprofit organizations representing health and human services, education, the environment and the arts!

This money consists of distributions from competitive grants and from Centre Foundation’s more than 300 endowment funds. It also includes money the foundation secured from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to fund the “PA 2-1-1 Central Region” http://www.pa211central.org and to fund high-speed wireless internet capability in our county’s public libraries. Additionally, it includes $110,000 in matching funds and prizes that the foundation provided for “www.centregives.org” Centre Gives, a Centre Foundation-created online fundraiser that raised about $415,000 for local nonprofits last June.

“Centre Foundation is able to provide such significant annual financial support because over 31 years, our donors trusted us to invest their gifts wisely, and to carry out their instructions for grantmaking,” Centre Foundation Executive Director Al Jones said.

“Although this is our core mission, we are becoming more involved in community-wide projects and are very interested in building our capacity to address the changing needs of the community.”

Thank you to the community for helping us provide so much assistance to the amazing nonprofits that we support!

-Erin

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Community cafes to help residents discuss problem of child sexual abuse

Amid all the turmoil that our area has experienced over the last year or so, it’s important to sit down and talk about problems and how they can be fixed. So some local residents have put together a series of events to help people talk about the issue of child sexual abuse and about what can be done to prevent it in the future.

Next weekend, local churches will host community cafes. The cafes will be held using the World Cafe model, which encourages personal sharing at small tables. Participants respond to compelling questions and change tables after each round of questions to promote sharing of ideas. The cafe is capped by a town hall session in which ideas are shared with the whole group and plans for future actions are formulated.

The cafes are free and open to the public. Cafes 1 & 2 will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County. Cafe 3 will take place on Sunday, Jan. 20 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at University Mennonite Church, and Cafe 4 will be held Monday, Jan. 21 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at State College Presbyterian Church.

As Eileen Wise and Jean Wiant write in an article in today’s Centre Daily Times, “It will take time and the sustained efforts of the whole community” to prevent abuse.

-Erin

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a fan of community foundations

In December, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave $18 million in Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation as part of his pledge to give away 50% of his wealth in his lifetime or upon his death.

In an interesting blog post today, the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ) wrote about the possible reasons that Zuckerberg donated the money to a community foundation rather than setting up a private, family foundation like many people in his tax bracket do.

CFNJ Board Member Frederick Schoenbrodt talks about tax advantages that can be gained by working with a community foundation instead of a private foundation. But he says there are many other reasons Zuckerberg likely chose to work with a community foundation. Working with an established community foundation means avoiding the bureaucracy that comes along with setting up a brand new foundation and having talented local staff who understand community needs, Schoenbrodt says. Community Foundation donors can allow those staff members to allocate gifts to what they determine to be the community’s greatest needs, or they can donate to, or set up, a donor-advised fund that benefits a certain organization or cause that they care about.

“In [the case of donor-advised funds], the donor retains responsibility for the ‘fun part’ of philanthropy, i.e., recommending grants to organizations and purposes that further the donor’s philanthropic vision,” Schoenbrodt said, “while remaining completely free from the burdens and rules imposed upon private foundations by the IRS and various state laws regulating charities.”

Here at Centre Foundation, we help donors who, like Zuckerberg, are interested in using their resources to improve their community. We’re proud to work with thousands of donors, and to administer more than 300 funds. Those interested in creating their own legacy of philanthropy though a Centre Foundation fund should talk to their financial planner and/or contact Centre Foundation at 814-237-6229. And as Schoenbrodt points out, donors don’t have to be ultra-rich Facebook inventors to help their community through a partnership with their local community foundation.

Thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg for highlighting the importance of community foundations, and to Mr. Schoenbrodt for so adeptly describing some of community foundations’ biggest advantages.

-Erin

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State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham: ‘We need young people to stay in the area’

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the importance of attracting young professionals to our community and retaining them, and we’re happy to have an ally in State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham! In an article in today’s Daily Collegian, the mayor talks about the importance of keeping more of the talented students who go to Penn State in our community after they graduate.

“We need young people to stay in the area after graduation, who know the town and have new ideas, to work hard and eventually replace us one day,” Goreham said.

The article highlights the Planning and Community Development Department of State College’s First-Time Home Buyer program, which it hopes will entice more students to stay. The First-Time Home Buyer program assists residents with mortgage and closing costs on a house.

Economist and author Rebecca Ryan mediates discussion during the Centre Foundation Soul of Centre County workshop in October. Attendees talked about how to make our community more attractive to young professionals.

The article also cites State College Borough Council member Peter Morris, who says that Penn State and the borough are looking to find new ways to attract employers for whom recent college graduates will want to work, such as start-up companies and research programs.

We wholeheartedly support these goals. At our Soul of Centre County Workshop, in October, economist and author Rebecca Ryan led a discussion among community leaders, young professionals and college students about how to make our community more attractive to young professionals. A lot of good ideas resulted from this discussion, and we are looking forward to continue working with the community to keep more innovative, energetic young professionals in our midst!

-Erin

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Salvation Army, others collect “Coats for Kids”

Weather forecasters are predicting a cold and snowy winter for us here in Centre County. This makes the annual “Coats for Kids” fundraiser, which collects new or gently used coats for both children and adults, especially important this year.

The campaign, sponsored by The Salvation Army, 3WZ Radio, Balfurd Cleaners and Mount Nittany Medical Center, kicked off Nov. 9 and will continue through Jan. 11 of next year.

The program took in about 900 coats last year, and organizers are hoping to match or improve upon that number this year, so if you can spare a new or gently used coat, head to one of the 21 drop-off locations throughout Centre County!

-Erin

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Happy Community Foundation Week!

Happy Community Foundation Week from your friendly local community foundation! We at the Centre Foundation have been serving this community since 1981, distributing grants to nonprofit organizations in need and setting up endowment funds that ensure local charities will have funding in perpetuity and give donors the chance to create a lasting legacy of philanthropy in this community we love so much.

We join more than 700 community foundation nationwide in celebrating Community Foundation Week 2012, happening now through Saturday, Nov. 18. In 2011, community foundations gave an estimated $4.2 BILLION to support their local communities, and we are proud to be a part of that important contribution.

It’s fitting that this week falls right before Thanksgiving, because we are very thankful for all of our donors, grantees and everyone who contributes to making our community a wonderful place to live and work.

-Erin

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