During November 12-18, Your Community Foundation, Inc. (YCF) and more than 780 other community foundations across the country will celebrate Community Foundation Week. This week provides foundations with an opportunity to share and reflect on stories of local philanthropists and how their contributions impact the community.
“Your Community Foundation offers donors the flexibility to invest long term at a local level. The Mavis Grant and George W. Lilley, Jr. Community Enhancement Fund provides a perfect example of how this works. Their donor advised endowed (permanent) fund allows them to contribute the annual earnings to interests in the community that they are passionate about while leaving the principal balance intact,” said Patty Showers Ryan, YCF President.
The Mavis Grant and George W. Lilley Jr. Community Enhancement Fund is a $1 million-dollar endowment. In 2016, the annual earnings provided $40,000 to four West Virginia non-profit organizations:
- Libera (empowers women to address barriers through mentoring, groups, networking, and connection to resources) – $1,000
- Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center (advocates for children that have been abused or neglected by providing a child-friendly & safe environment where children and their family can be interviewed, educated, and healed) – $14,000
- Coordinating Council on Homelessness (coordinates community-wide efforts to end homelessness and promote housing stability) – $15,000
- Milan Puskar Health Right (provides primary care services to uninsured, underinsured, and vulnerable populations regardless of insurance status or ability to pay) – $10,000
Mavis Grant and George Lilley, who established their fund last year, have been prominent members of the Morgantown community for more than 20 years. Their past involvement with other community foundations helped make them “aware of the model, appreciate the model, and believe in the model.”
“We get a lot of satisfaction out of making a difference in others’ lives and know that we can have a greater impact when we do it with others,” said George.
George is involved with Rotary, Friends of Public Broadcasting, Coordinating Council on Homelessness, Pedestrian Safety Board of Morgantown and Community Living Initiatives Corporation, which plans and develops programs to improve the quality of life for older adults.
In 2007, Mavis helped to establish Empty Bowls, a project that supports food banks, soup kitchens and other organizations fighting hunger. Currently, she is a member of the Women’s Giving Circle of North Central WV, which is a component fund of Your Community Foundation, Inc. that addresses the needs of women in the community. In addition, Mavis serves on the Monongalia County Youth Services Board and has previously served on the Council of International Programs (CIP) Board and most years, she and George host an international recipient through this program.
“As we prepare to celebrate Community Foundation Week, Your Community Foundation thanks Mavis Grant and George Lilley and our many other donors for their generosity and investment in north central West Virginia,” Ryan added.
This story—alongside the countless others like it—demonstrates the tremendous impact and unique importance of community foundations in this country. Though you may not yet know your local community foundation, you’ve likely felt its impact. A gift to your local community foundation is an investment in the future of your community. The funds will go to work immediately supporting vital services, but they will also provide sustained support for years to come.