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Community Foundation Making philanthropy work

🕐 5 min read

North Texas Community Foundation

North Texas Giving Day

Sept. 22

For 35 years, the North Texas Community Foundation has been a conduit between festering local needs and philanthropists who want to help.

The foundation, formerly named the Community Foundation of North Texas, connects the two by helping individuals, families and businesses in Tarrant and 10 other North Texas counties set up charitable funds.

The foundation then invests and administers the funds and makes grants to nonprofits in areas ranging from the arts to economic development to human services, based on the wishes of the donors.

“We are like a vehicle for donors to give to charity through us,” said Nancy E. Jones, president and CEO of the foundation.

With assets in excess of $235 million, Jones said, the foundation ranks in the top 10 percent of 700 similar charitable community foundations across the country. The foundation awarded $18 million in grants to nonprofits in the past year and more than $200 million throughout its 35-year history.

The foundation recently surveyed its fund holders and found that it had a top rating for donor satisfaction.

In addition, the foundation recently released its new report, Growing Up in North Texas 2016: A Community Assessment for Tarrant County, which spotlights the problem of children living in poverty and confronting neglect and abuse as target areas for new programs and philanthropic spending.

Specifically, the report identifies family economic stability, literacy rates at third grade, infant mortality and child maltreatment as priority areas of need. Although Tarrant County’s childhood poverty rate is below the statewide average of 25.3 percent, 22.1 percent of all children in the county live below the federal poverty threshold according to 2014 estimates, the report said.

“There is a lot of need here,” Jones said.

Jones answered questions from the Fort Worth Business Press about the foundation, its accomplishments and its goals to tackle pressing community needs.

What does it mean that the North Texas Community Foundation is No. 1 in donor satisfaction?

This means that NTCF is rated in the top 1 percent of all community foundations for this measure. Against more than 70 other community foundations, our community foundation was ranked highest by its fund holders.

We contracted with the Center for Effective Philanthropy to survey our fund holders to ensure that we were meeting their needs and that they were satisfied with their experience with the North Texas Community Foundation. Of course, we hoped they were, but we were delighted when we received this external validation. These measures and the comments of the respondents will be helpful to the board and to our work going forward.

Will the No. 1 rank for donor satisfaction be helpful with fundraising and the foundation’s impact?

We’ve been told that we’re one of the best-kept secrets in North Texas. By being named No. 1 in donor satisfaction, we think this will be further evidence that it’s smart to use the Community Foundation as a vehicle for carrying out your charitable goals. This honor helps us to get the word out about how the Community Foundation has evolved in the last seven years from a more transactional organization to being a partner in long-term planning with our philanthropists, professional advisers and nonprofits focused on community impact.

How does North Texas Community Foundation compare to others?

The North Texas Community Foundation is in the top 10 percent by size of all the community foundations nationally. Our assets are $235 million and we awarded $18 million last year in grants to nonprofit organizations. Throughout our 35-year history, we’ve awarded more than $200 million in grants based on our fund holders’ wishes.

We are relatively young but have achieved a great deal, especially in the past decade. The two community foundations in Dallas are 60 and 90 years old, respectively, and of course they are larger, given their age.

How effective is the North Texas Community Foundation?

The North Texas Community Foundation has grown to $235 million in assets, which represents over 265 individuals and families who have established funds in the Community Foundation. And, 2016 is going to be a record year, with $18 million already committed to date and year-to-date new gifts to the foundation reaching an all-time high of $22 million.

What are the fundraising needs in Fort Worth and North Texas?

Donors support an amazing number of quality programs and charities throughout North Texas. We work with our fund holders to help them invest in programs that are sustainable and have the greatest impact. For example, some of our fund holders work together to support the Community Foundation’s grant-making in early learning, which is working to ensure our youngest residents have the quality environment and child care necessary to make them kindergarten-ready at age 5.

What are the financial goals going forward?

The North Texas Community Foundation Board has set a goal of $400 million in assets by the year 2020. We are on track for achieving that goal, which translates into more monies available to nonprofits and to charitable causes that our donors recognize as important and key to building a strong community and region for all. Our funding comes from individuals and families – and some corporations – that want to set aside dollars to help their neighbors. In many instances, we receive gifts from the estates of individuals who wanted to leave behind a lasting legacy of giving.

What are the long-term goals?

The Community Foundation’s goal is to be a long-term living asset of Fort Worth and North Texas. The Community Foundation recently hosted an event where the current and living Fort Worth mayors joined us to talk about how to grow and sustain a thriving community. The panel focused a tremendous amount of time talking about how education, transportation and sustainability matters.

We agree wholeheartedly with our mayors’ discussion. Our work as a Community Foundation is to help support the work they focused on, but not just for today. We want to ‘think beyond’ for the years ahead. We want to support philanthropic solutions in 25, 50, 100 years.

To do that, our strength lies in serving as unbiased experts who want to maximize the gifts we receive from the generous individuals and families in Fort Worth and North Texas. All Community Foundation charitable contributions are fully tax deductible.

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