Helping people is the key to the Community Foundation

Jennifer McComb, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5Fm this morning to talk about how the foundation helps people.

The Community Foundation helps just about every resident in the county.

McComb said, “The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys is one of over 700 community foundations in the country. There’s pretty much one in every major geographic area. Our main purpose is to connect people, resources and needs through philanthropy. The primary activity we do to achieve that goal is managing investment funds for the permanent good of the community. That includes endowment funds, and then funds for individuals like donor advised funds, or for nonprofits that are just a savings, that we invest it for them and then they can request grants when they need it. Then we also give out grants on our own. So that’s our main focus, but we also do some trainings throughout the year to make our nonprofit stronger.”

Since 1996, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys has given out over $34 million.

A training session on planned giving for nonprofits will be held on Thursday.

McComb said, “This will be held at the Key West Library this Thursday February 22 from 10am to noon. It’s in conjunction with the Florida Small Business Development Center at FIU. The presenter is Bonnie Barnes. She’s wonderful, we actually held the same session in Marathon and every seat was full and had just such rave reviews that we decided we’re also going to offer it again, in Key West and then also Key Largo later this year. We’d held it in October, and just great turnout, and everyone loved it because we taught the nonprofits ways to raise money through planned gifts, and to get away from the regular fundraising events and to develop a program together with your board and supporters to raise higher dollars, without having to ask people every year for more money, so it’s great. Bonnie also gives out all the forms to get started with the program and sample brochures, timelines, and just gives you all the tools and resources to get this started for your nonprofit and it’s completely free. So anyone who’s interested in the topic, whether you work for a nonprofit or on a board or volunteer, or just interested, you can register for free at and that’s this Thursday from 10 to noon.”

Registration for the upcoming session of the Leadership Success Academy is coming up.

McComb said, “This is a training that we hold once a year. This is the 17th year, I think it’s up to over 700 nonprofit board members have been trained now. It’s our signature training program. It’s two days, and you learn all about being on the board of a nonprofit. Some people take the class not even being a board member yet and, and then learn about whether it’s something that’s right for them. This will be held on March 26 and 27th for the very first time in Islamorada at the Islander Resort, which is just a beautiful location right on the beach. We’re going to have lunch both days and a nice reception. So it’s $149 a person total, includes all of that. We have some fabulous presenters, including some first time presenters. Alex Counts is our headliner, and he’s a nonprofit governance specialist who’s coming down from the Baltimore area to teach most of the first day.”

The Legacy Challenge helps a lot of organizations.

McComb said, “It sounds too good to be true, but right now, we’re offering to give $10,000 to your favorite nonprofit if you come forward and let us know that you’re going to give to them later on in your will. You’re not giving anything now. If an individual or family wants to come forward and say that they’re giving $25,000 or more through your estate to a nonprofit here in the Keys, we’ll write a check for $2,500 right now. Or if it’s a million dollars or more, we’ll write a check for $10,000 to that nonprofit right now. So it’s our legacy challenge. We’re only opening it up to 100 participants of which we’ve had about 30 so far. So it’s really a win/win program and it’s great for us and for the community, because we’ve already given out over $160,000 right now.”

Matching donations can also be a big help.

McComb said, “We continue to match all donations to our regional funds. So that’s our Lower Keys Future Fund, the Middle Keys Future Fund and Upper Keys Future Fund, because we especially want to make it well known that we’re not a Key West only organization, but we’re a countywide organization. So to inspire grant making up the Keys, we are matching all those donations. Our newest fund is the It’s Five o’clock Somewhere Fund, which the great role that we play is to not have too many people create nonprofits if it’s not going to be a successful nonprofit. We have a group in town that wanted to hold a memorial for Jimmy Buffett on September 1. So instead of creating a whole new nonprofit, Paul Minta and his team have created the It’s Five o’clock Somewhere Fund with us in Key West. That’s raised thousands of dollars already.”

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