When it comes to the holidays, now is a great time for giving

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.

The holidays are certainly a busy time for philanthropy.

McComb said, “The last part of the year, up to 50% of donations are made in December and 10% in the last three days of the year. So we’re very busy over here.”

Over this past year, $34 million in grants have been given by the Community Foundation to the Florida Keys and $3 million more than that in disaster relief funding.

McComb said, “It’s a great time to give. It does make you feel good, it benefits others but it can also benefit you. We’re getting a lot more stock gifts this year, which if you give to a nonprofit, through the Community Foundation, giving stock, it’s absolutely free. We don’t charge anything if that’s a fund holder of ours, which is all the big month nonprofits. If you wanted to give some stock to the SOS Foundation that runs all the food pantries or H Monroe that helps with health and housing, totally free to give the stock to the Community Foundation, then we’ll run a check over to the charity and then they can get it by the end of the year. You win because you don’t pay capital gains as if you sold the stock and then took the gain because you’re giving it right to charity and you still get the full charitable deduction. So very win/win and free to do it through the Community Foundation.”

More than $500,000 in grants were given towards the end of this year and awarded by the Community Foundation to the Florida Keys.

McComb said, “If you can’t think of a nonprofit to give to you, if you don’t have a favorite, most people have a favorite or two, we did give those grants mostly out of our Florida Keys Future Fund. That’s a fund that you can give to that supports all kinds of causes across the Keys and the applications are scored by community residents from across the whole Keys and then those grants are given to the winning proposals. So it’s a very vetted process.”

There’s also a legacy challenge.

McComb explained, “We just launched the estate planning months within October. What the challenge is, is we’re very lucky that we have all of our expenses paid from our own endowment. So if somebody donates to the Community Foundation, 100% of the money goes right back out into the community. Well, we’re hoping that other nonprofits can someday be more like this, instead of having to fundraise every year for their annual operating costs with their rent and their salaries. So our legacy challenge is encouraging donors from across the Keys to leave money for nonprofits in their wills, and in their estates or a beneficiary of their retirement or life insurance accounts. So if you document to us that you will leave money up to $25,000, to the Community Foundation for a fund for a nonprofit, we will write a $2,500 check to the nonprofit right now. If you leave over a million dollars, at least a million dollars, we’ll write a check for $10,000 right now to your favorite charity. If somebody already has the Community Foundation in their will, they can come forward and let us know and we’ll write that $10,000 check right to the charity that you choose. It’s a great program.”

Unsung Heroes is also a program that the Community Foundation operates in conjunction with Keys Weekly.

McComb said, “This is probably what we’re most known for. The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys will be holding its 24th annual Unsung Heroes celebration. We have a record number of volunteers of the year nominated, 89 this year. So it’s a very unique event because we have each of those 89 volunteers of the year from different nonprofits across the Keys actually walk across the stage and you’ll hear a little bit about what they’ve done to be so special for the organization. I was encouraging you to give money to nonprofits at this time of year and all year, but giving your time is very, very important, too, and so we really like to honor those people. I’m happy to say we have tickets for sale for that event. If you’ve never been to it, it’s really something to see all the nonprofits and their volunteers of the year and realize how much happens behind the scenes at all these nonprofits thanks to people giving their time. The tickets for the February 2 event are $60 each. So a table of 10 is $600.”

The Leadership Success Academy, Community Foundation of the Florida Keys will be happening March 26, and 27 and registration is open.

McComb said, “We hope all board members or people considering board service in 2024 and in the future, will come take that class. It’s a great training. You learn about leadership styles, how to read the balance sheet when you get that at the board meeting, fundraising, strategic planning, a little bit of everything. We’re going to have a very special presentation. The representatives of AH Monroe and FKOC are going to be talking about the process of their two organizations merging and just the pros and cons and how they weighed it and how they ended up going forward with the merger.”

For more information, click here:  https://cffk.org/