Friday, March 13, 2015

Neb. foundation boss says rural philanthropy begins with teaching communities to help themselves

Rural philanthropy can bridge economic, social and cultural gaps, bringing people of differing backgrounds together to form a common bond, Nonprofit Quarterly wrote in July 2013. The problem is that money to rural areas keeps declining. That doesn't mean that rural advocates have given up hope. Some are still fighting the good fight, such as Jeff Yost, president and CEO of the Nebraska Community Foundation, Rick Cohen writes for Nonprofit Quarterly.

"Emphasizing the development of affiliated funds linked to and serviced by the statewide community foundation he runs, Yost says that they’re trying to do something different in Nebraska, to build a 'system [that] is all about helping communities to help themselves,'" Cohen writes. "This framework runs counter to the history of rural America, where political power and financial resources have largely seeped out of rural communities."

Yost said the foundation stresses leadership development; discretionary capital, so that leaders have resources they can apply; and the willingness to think about the future in different ways than we have in the past, Cohen writes.

And based on statistics the foundation's ideals have led to success across the state, with 532 incorporated places across the states. The foundation's accomplishments include:
  • 223 affiliated funds serving 254 Nebraska communities in 78 counties since the first affiliated fund was established in 1994
  • 286 planned gifts totaling $52.5 million to benefit Nebraska’s communities and organizations
  • $222.7 million reinvested since 1994 ($126.1 million in the last five years)
  • 35,728 contributions in the last five years
  • As of December 2014, 101 affiliated funds building endowments

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