Pausing to Reflect on your Philanthropy

The events of the past 15 months – the pandemic, the wide-spread social justice demonstrations, the contentious national election – challenged our community in ways we didn’t know possible. We are grateful that our donors responded to these challenges quickly and with incredible generosity.

Our community still faces daunting challenges; the inequities faced disproportionately by communities of color were laid bare during the last year, and those communities continue to face the economic fallout from the pandemic. The centuries-old fight for racial and social justice endures and there is still so much work to be done. At this midway point in 2021, we invite you to pause with us and consider your plans for moving forward with your philanthropy.

Increasing giving: Over the last year, the Foundation has encouraged our donors to dig deep and increase their giving to the nonprofits that are important to them. So many of you responded by increasing both the size and the frequency of grants from your fund. We challenge you to continue this level of generosity moving forward as we know recovery will take time and rebuilding will require long-term investment from dedicated partners.

Embracing Trust-Based Philanthropy: Recently, the Foundation made a shift toward embracing the principles of trust-based philanthropy through practices such as reconsidering reporting requirements (or replacing reporting with a personal discussion), making grants for general operating support, and providing renewable funding opportunities. We encourage you to consider these practices as you get to know the nonprofits in our community and think about how you can provide support beyond a grant check, such as offering accounting services or legal advice, or dedicating volunteer hours. (If you are interested in learning more about Trust-Based Philanthropy, click here to register for a learning session hosted by the Foundation on August 12.)

Thinking big about your charitable giving: Many of you took the time during the last year to think critically – and creatively – about your philanthropy. We want to help those of you looking to find more joy in your giving, while also creating more meaningful and intentional impact through your philanthropy.

Increasing your giving, embracing Trust-Based Philanthropy, and thinking big about your charitable giving: these are lofty goals, but the Foundation is committed to “walking the walk” alongside our fundholders. Our Fund for Louisville: Racial Justice Cohort work is a great example of these efforts. We doubled the average size of our discretionary grants through the Fund for Louisville – from $20,000 to $40,000 – to the nonprofits in our racial justice cohort. We provided our grantees with general operating, unrestricted dollars, which allows them to assess where the grant funds are needed most. And we engaged community members in the process design and the grantee selection in order to better direct our available discretionary funds toward supporting systems change.

Due to your commitment, the Community Foundation of Louisville awarded more than 11,700 grants totaling over $68 million in 2020. Approximately 82% of which stayed in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to support area nonprofits. We are proud of this work, but there is still so much to be done. 

How can we help you be bolder in your giving? How will you make this another year of greater impact? As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or for additional support. We are grateful to be part of your philanthropic journey and we look forward to continuing our partnership with you.