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Focus on Community Foundations

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Local Foundations and United Way During the Pandemic 

You’ve probably seen or heard in the media, mention of the Community Foundations in our immediate area.  Right now, especially you’re hearing about them because of the rapid response they’ve made to the COVID-19 pandemic.    The local Community Foundations include the Youngstown Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. If you’re our neighbor in Western Pennsylvania or Eastern Ohio, you may be familiar with the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio and it’s six affiliate foundations, including, Community Foundation of Trumbull County. Although not a Community Foundation, a private foundation that we’ll talk about, serving the area is the Wean Foundation.   

What is a Community Foundation?  What is their role in the community?  Candid defines it as “a tax-exempt charitable organization that provides support-primarily for the needs of the geographic community or region where it is based. For a greater understanding of the meaning of a Community Foundation, I suggest you read the whole article, What is a community foundation? Where can I learn more about them? 

In his article, “Connecting with Community Foundations, Your Partner Next Door, Neel Hajca discusses common characteristics of Community Foundations.  He mentions facts such as, Community Foundations are 501c3 public charities.   Interestingly, he goes on to discuss, Community Foundations engage in both grantmaking and fundraising activities and they fund diverse causes.    He also makes note that there are over 700 Community Foundations in the U.S.  I consider our area very lucky to have several working in our community.  The Youngstown Foundation is the fourth oldest in the country!  For more great information on working with Community Foundations, I suggest reading the entire article. 

The Youngstown Foundation, Community Foundation of the Mahoning and the Wean Foundation have been featured recently in the news because they have joined together to assist local nonprofits directly impacted by COVID-19.  The Mahoning Valley COVID-19 Crisis Relief and Stabilization application is a “common application can be accessed from all three websites”.   

I suggest you look at the websites for all three organizations for more information on each.  Here is the link to The Youngstown Foundation.  While you’re on the site, check out the information on “community impact”.  You may recall, the Youngstown Foundation celebrated its 100th anniversary.  One of the ways it commemorated the occasion was with a $3 million gift to build the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater.   At the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley websieI suggest you review the information on “Women Warriors”. Under the fund for Women and girls a special recognition of “Women Warriors” is featured.  This is to honor women who are “organizing relief and response efforts in the Mahoning Valley during the Covid-19 crisis”.   While at the Wean Foundation, check out the Covid-19 Resource Guide. 

The United Way of Youngstown and the United Way of Trumbull County are also greatly involved in Covid-19 Community Response.   

Also assisting our neighbors in Trumbull County is the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.  They also offer a Covid-19, Community Impact Funds with application.