The Community Foundation helps a lot of nonprofits

Jennifer McComb, CEO of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about helping those most in need.

A fundraiser for the Hawaii Community Foundation to help Lahaina will be next Friday at the Emporium in Old Town Key West at 618 Duvall Street.

McComb said, “It’s really sad that even the Hawaii Community Foundation employees are displaced from their home, that they’re doing the hard work of helping people while they, themselves, are homeless.”

The Community Foundation in the Florida Keys has provided over $34 million in community grants, since its inception in 1996.

McComb said, “We give out grants all year long, but right now is our open grants application where any nonprofit in the Florida Keys can apply. We’ve already had actually 25 applications are in process and 10 have been submitted. So we already have 35 possible grantees. Last year, we supported 48 nonprofits through this application process and gave out $307,000. This year, we expect to give out at least $400,000. The grants will be from $5,000 to $20,000 each. We made it easy. There just aren’t a lot of rules about this. The nonprofit can apply for whatever they need, even if it’s operating support. We hear a lot that they are having a hard time retaining their employees to keep them in the Keys with the high cost of living. So if they need some retention money, or something for training, it doesn’t have to go to the program as it has in the past because we got some feedback from the nonprofits that they really just need help keeping their mission going. So we’re happy to do that.”

Nonprofit Day was held last week.

McComb said, “It was our second annual. We just did it as a test last year and 100 nonprofit professionals from across the whole county attended. We were so pleased and we got feedback on the survey that they definitely wanted to make it an annual event, which we have. We had even higher attendance this year. Thanks to our funding from First State Bank, we were able to bring in an expert on AI, Artificial Intelligence. About 20 of them want to start a group and share their ideas a monthly on how they’re using it to enhance their productivity.”

How would AI be used in a nonprofit realm?

McComb said, “Just automating things like a thank you letter to make it more personalized. If you’re getting content for your newsletters or anything that’s an automated task within your organization, there’s probably a way to use AI to make it faster so that you can spend more time on your mission instead of administrative things. He cautioned to put a personal touch on it, to not just depend on what’s coming out of the machine.”

Estate planning month is October.

McComb said, “We want to get the word out that no one is too young or doesn’t have enough money to do to estate planning. Every single person should have a will and estate plan, no matter how old you are, or how much money you have, it’s really important. We see this, if you don’t have everything planned, it goes into probate, and then the government’s deciding and it takes a really long time. It can be very taxing on your friends and family if you don’t have a plan, and you never know what’s going to happen. We urge everyone to think about giving a tiny amount or a large amount to charity in your plan. We can help you with that at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. We can refer you to professionals that can help you do the will. Some of them actually have said that they will, if you don’t have the money, they can help you get a discount or a complimentary will planning. We’re just really happy to help you.”

The Small Business Development Council will have a meeting to discuss nonprofit legacy and planned giving opportunities at the Marathon library on October 19th from 9 to 11 a.m.

The Florida Keys Volunteer Center is a great resource that can help.

McComb said, “We have a few hundred volunteers signed up on If you haven’t signed up yet, please go on there. Then you’ll get emails if you choose to. You can check out different volunteer opportunities that come up throughout the Keys that could be something where you come in and help for an hour or as much commitment as being a full time board member of a nonprofit organization.”

The next Leadership Success Academy will be on March 26 and 27 at the Islander Resort in Islamorada.

McComb said, “It’s our very first time holding the event in Islamorada, so we hope that we will bring out some new nonprofit board members that we haven’t been able to reach before.”

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