Helping communities through charitable giving was the topic of a meeting hosted by the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) on Wednesday, March 7, at the Challacombe House in Hillsboro.
"I can't think of any other organizations that can effect so much in a community," Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln (CFLL) CEO John Stremsterfer said. "We are limitless."
CFLL is a tax-exempt public charity that began in Springfield in 1924 and now not only serves Sangamon County but also Cass, Christian, Logan, Macoupin, Menard, Morgan and Montgomery.
The foundation was begun by three Springfield banks, but transitioned to a community foundation in 2002, changed to the current name in 2011, and since then, manages 192 charitable funds with over $32 million in assets. In 2017, the foundation awarded $2 million in grants and scholarships.
According to MCEDC Executive Director Valerie Belusko, the meeting with CFLL was set up to introduce the concept of working with a foundation for philanthropy that will help communities for the long term. Not only can the foundation administer large gifts, but it can also help small organizations that may not have staff to administer charitable donations.
Local organizations have already benefited from grants from CFLL, like the local Patriot Guard chapter, and also Place2Play in Raymond that is raising funds for playground equipment.
Local donors, too, have used the foundation. CFLL administers the Sgt. John R. Dalhaus Memorial Scholarship Fund, established by Judy Keith Dalhaus of Litchfield in memory of her son who was killed in a traffic accident in 1990 while serving in support of Operation Desert Shield.
Stremsterfer explained six classes of funds that may be funded through a number of ways, including gifts, bequests, charitable trusts, retirement accounts, life insurance, the conversion of private foundations, real property and farmland. Funds can be established for amounts as low as $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the type of fund.
Currently, CFLL administers three competitive grants available to Montgomery County organizations, and seven scholarships available to students who live here.
To learn more about the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, contact director of donor services Kimberly Eck at 217-789-4431 or visit the foundation's website at www.cfll.org.