The Community Foundation has been helping nonprofits for more than two decades

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 organization helps nonprofits. 

Millions of dollars have been provided to nonprofits since the Community Foundation has been in the Keys for 27 years. 

McComb said, “We just reached a milestone, we have $30 million of assets under management. So we’ve really grown a lot. Since I’ve come on board, we’ve pretty much doubled our assets so we’re able to give out more and help more people here in the Keys.”

Some new funds have been established. 

McComb said, “We actually made history in May with the most funds ever opened in one month. We have eight new funds that we added on and that’s how we help connect with people, resources or needs through philanthropy. We have now 226 different funds and those range from donor advised funds to field of interest funds, scholarship funds, teacher award funds. But we have eight new ones in May, and we’re super busy. The runner up one was March 2022, where we have seven new funds. Then we had six back in December of 2007. So one that’s pretty neat is the 16th Judicial Court of Florida has a drug court and they found that hearing from other drug courts across the nation that if you have an incentive program, that someone’s doing well in the program and getting off drugs, just to give them little treats like a movie ticket or something like that, along those lines, really goes a long way to help them keep with the program. So up in Miami, they opened a nonprofit, actually, that’s related to the drug court. But someone had heard me talking on your show or somewhere around town, and realized, well, the court system didn’t need to open a nonprofit down here, they could just open a fund with the Community Foundation. So that’s what we’ve done. We have the drug court fund, and people can make donations, and that will go to help people get off of drugs, and move on with their lives.”

Another new fund was the animal care fund. 

McComb said, “That was part of our legacy challenge. Right now we’re having a challenge where if you state that you’re going to give a certain amount through the Community Foundation to charities when you pass away, that we’ll write a check right now to an organization that you love and we did that for Brad and Joy in the Upper Keys. We wrote a check to Marvelous Pet Resuce and they didn’t have to give one cent now, it’s just going to come out of their will when they pass away. We have another Legacy Fund open that’s really neat. It’s the Key West Tree Fund. So Dr. Lawrence Winters in Key West, when he passes away, a chunk of money will go into this tree fund and that will go only to help plant and maintain trees within the city of Key West. So that’s something really important to him and he had a really nice write up as to why he wants to do this.”

The Community Foundation awarded $66,000 to Key West teachers, including $25,000 to Teacher of the Year. 

McComb said, “The $25,000 check that goes to the Teacher of the Year, is really life changing for some of these teachers. It’s something remarkable that Mr. Wolkowsky did, leaving those teacher award funds that will go on forever.”

There are some new board members at the Community Foundation. 

McComb said, “I’m really happy to say that starting July 1, we have two new board members. As part of our strategic plan to exactly replicate the population of the Keys, geographically, we’re adding Isis Wright from the Upper Keys. She and her husband are entrepreneurs and have several companies. But she’s been the chair of our Upper Keys Council. She’s been part of our Upper Keys Council that started in 2021 the whole time. So she’s kind of been in training to come on the full board and represent Key Largo. She and Tony’s businesses, one of them’s an Italian food company that has three locations up in the Upper Keys, and she has a 12 year old, which is bringing another unique component, because most of our board members right now don’t have any very young children. So she’ll bring a different perspective on the needs the Keys. Robyn Still from Marathon, she’s going to be joining our board. She’s currently the mayor of Marathon, so she’s going to really helped connect us with the people in Marathon, the needs in Marathon, potential donors, and she has also been serving on our Middle Keys council. So we’re we’re really including the Upper Keys in our leadership, the Middle Keys in our leadership. Some of the benefit to that for the residents of Key West is that now we’re getting new donors throughout the Keys. So the Key West donors don’t have to be covering all the needs for the entire county. We’re bringing new donors into the fold and also getting a good perspective on the needs throughout the Keys and our new board chair starting July 1 is Laura Lietaert. Also again, making history because it’s our first time having a chair from outside the Key West area. We had one from Sugarloaf, but we’ve never had a chair from the Upper Middle keys. Laura is the principal of Coral Shores High School. She’s been principal the year twice. She’s been Rotary Club president twice, so she’s a seasoned leader. She is chair of the Human Services Advisory Board for Monroe County and she served on our board for many years. So it’s really exciting to have someone from the Upper Keys lead our organization, that we’re really becoming county wide.”

Florida Keys Nonprofit Day is coming up. 

McComb said, “It will be our third annual nonprofit day. We started this after the pandemic. The nonprofit professionals wanted to get together and we’ve made it an educational day, copying  what other big cities have done, but we do it in Marathon this year. It’ll be at the Marathon City Hall on September 11th. We have some very well known speakers that get paid a lot to give keynotes across the country and they’re going to be talking about presentation mastery for nonprofits and brand mastery for nonprofits. They’re volunteering their time, which is great for us. It’s going to be September 11, from 1 to 4:30pm. Sponsored by First State Bank, and the registration is open now on our website.” 

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