Anyone can be a philanthropist |

Anyone can be a philanthropist

Stephen M. Healy

As we approach the holidays – traditionally a time of generosity – we ask that you join with the El Dorado Community Foundation in creating a better future for all of us, right here where we live.

For 10 years the El Dorado Community Foundation has improved the quality of life through philanthropy in El Dorado County.

That is our mission: we help individuals, families and businesses to maximize their generosity. We also help nonprofit organizations succeed in their work. In the 27 years I have lived in El Dorado County, it has become clear to me that without the nonprofits that touch our lives, collectively and individually, the quality of our lives would be greatly diminished.

At the Community Foundation, we take the long view. We invest the contributions we receive – large and small – in permanent endowments. Distributions from these endowments help meet El Dorado County’s charitable needs year after year in the form of grants to these local agencies.

The concept is simple: provide a system to allow and encourage individuals of all economic levels to become local philanthropists, thus letting them help determine the future of their hometowns and regions by establishing permanent funds to support the broadest range of charitable purposes. No other organizations, public or private, is so committed to providing for the future needs of our community.

So far this year, generous donors have created eight new funds at the El Dorado Community Foundation, bringing the total to 100 charitable funds that we currently hold. Each fund is unique because each was established at a different time from different donors for different charitable purposes.

From these funds we will distribute more than $400,000 in grants this year to nonprofit organizations and scholarship recipients throughout El Dorado County. Since our inception these donors have enabled the Community Foundation to return well over $2 million in grants to local organizations. A gift through the El Dorado Community Foundation truly does keep on giving.

Today, we have a little more than $8 million in assets, all thanks to those who understand the power of endowment and who believe the El Dorado Community Foundation is the right vehicle to establish and hold their legacies. As our assets grow through new gifts and from our investments, our grant-making potential will grow accordingly. Market conditions may be up or down, but our outlook is positive. Like so many local citizens, we’re invested in our community for the long haul.

Those giving through the Community Foundation have many options. For instance, a donor can designate a gift to be added to an existing fund benefiting a specific nonprofit organization. Twenty-nine local nonprofit agencies are now building endowment funds at the foundation.

On the other hand, unrestricted gifts will enable us to respond to the changing needs of our area. With larger gifts, donors can put their family name on a permanent fund that reflects their own personal charitable interests.

Often parents and their children use the holiday season to gather together to make decisions about grants they would like to make from their fund. It is even possible to make a charitable gift that will generate lifetime income back to the donor’s family.

What we are seeing at the El Dorado Community Foundation is that people are becoming more selective in their giving, choosing to focus their efforts on the causes they care about most.

The opportunities to create a legacy of good through the foundation are almost limitless. We invite your interest and your support any time, at any level.

At this time of year, as we are endlessly urged to shop, please remember that the greatest gift of all may be a less tangible one – that of one’s time, talent or treasure helping others. What we buy in stores may have limited shelf-life, but what we give back to our community can last for generations.

The future of our community is up to all of us. Join with El Dorado Community Foundation and take the long view.

For more information contact the El Dorado Community Foundation at (530) 622-5621 or visit the Web site at

-Stephen M. Healy is the executive director of the El Dorado Community foundation.

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