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What is a Community Foundation?

We get this question a lot – What is a Community Foundation and what does it do? Generally defined, a community foundation is an independent philanthropic organization that works in a specific geographic area.  There are 800 community foundations nationwide, including 15 in South Carolina, holding roughly $35 billion in assets. 

Central Carolina Community Foundation has assets of $100 million and serves eleven counties in the Midlands.  In 2012, the foundation and our fundholders invested $10.3 million in nonprofit organizations throughout our community and beyond.

Our Foundation has many roles in the community including: The Vehicle for Philanthropy in the Midlands The first role of a community foundation is to encourage philanthropy by helping donors make sound decisions about their charitable giving.   We work directly with organizations, families, individuals to ensure their charitable contributions are used effectively and in a manner that is both impactful and meaningful. 

We consult with our donors, and their estate and financial planners, and offer flexible, cost-effective and tax efficient ways to invest their philanthropic funds. Community Leadership Community foundations provide leadership and expertise to build awareness of community needs.

We know the issues facing our community, and the organizations that address these issues, better than anyone.  We help elevate the dialogue around these needs and serve as a resource.  We look for opportunities to act as convener and collaborate with other organizations in order to have a significant, measurable impact on our community. Philanthropic Support In addition to providing leadership, community foundations provide capital to address community needs.

Unrestricted funds, entrusted to us by donors, are provided in the form of grants to local nonprofits in the counties we serve – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter Counties.  These grants address current and emerging issues and are designed to enhance and improve our community. 

We also engage our fundholders, providing them with the opportunity to invest in programs that we have vetted. The roles we play allow us to make a sustainable impact on our community by promoting, facilitating and increasing philanthropy. Our end-goal?  To make the Midlands a more caring and appealing place to live – for all who live, work and play here.