Community Foundation of Johnson County (CFJC) Past President Casey Cook had an epiphany. Last year, while serving as president-elect of AM Rotary and a member of the resources committee of CFJC, he knew well that service club members are extraordinary fund raisers and generous community supporters.
He learned that few service clubs have the people power or the expertise to evaluate and prioritize the many community requests for funding. The idea emerged in discussions with Rotary members and members of the CFJC Board – what about connecting service clubs to the network of nonprofit agencies through the Community Foundation.
Casey encouraged the AM Rotary to partner with CFJC, and match Rotary interests with an identified community need. Together, the Rotary and Community Foundation opened an opportunity to more effectively assist our community's most vulnerable citizens. This relationship model became the basis for future collaboration between service clubs and the Community Foundation.
In order to expand the circle of giving, CFJC contributors were also invited to take advantage of the work of the CFJC Grants Committee and use the information to designate funds that meet the donors' interests while supporting fully-vetted and remarkable projects.
The Community Foundation hopes to build on these relationships, said Mike Stoffregen, CFJC Executive Director, puting the concept in context. "Service clubs are pleased to participate in the Community Foundation's connecting community program.
"Service organizations do extraordinary work to build a better community, but often don't have the sophisticated grant process the Community Foundation has developed through the years. Their generosity along with the Community Foundation's donor-advised fund contributors have added $90,000 to grant awards presented in the Johnson County community the past two years. We are so grateful for their interest and support.
Stoffregen added, "We also appreciate the AM Rotary's work to pioneer a process that creates greater awareness of the Community Foundation and our work. Connecting Community has expanded our circle of philanthropy and enhanced our relationships with volunteers who give their dollars and those volunteers who give their time. The projects that received funding meet the needs of our community by supporting our culture, our human services, our environment, our education and ultimately, through all these endeavors, our people."