“Community intelligence”, sound investment management, and giving tools bring value to advisor’s clients
J. Scott Bogguss first became aware of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation soon after he started practicing law in the early 70’s. However, it wasn’t until the early 90’s that clients began to ask about the Community Foundation more regularly. Bogguss soon noticed that several clients and fellow attorneys for whom he had great respect, like John Smith, Jim Bradley and Gary Streit, were volunteering their time on the Community Foundation’s board of directors.
His specialty as a tax, estate and general business lawyer; and his volunteer service as Chair of the St. Luke’s Health Care Foundation board, prepared Bogguss for his own role at the Community Foundation. Scott was the Community Foundation’s board chairman in 2008. His leadership skills were intensely put to the test during the city’s greatest natural disaster — the June 2008 flood.
Three days after the flood crest, under Bogguss’ leadership, the Community Foundation had organized the Flood Fund and were making small grants to dozens of nonprofits that had been displaced.
“The Community Foundation’s structure and long-standing history as a community partner made it a perfect vehicle to quickly assist the sheer number of donors wanting to contribute to help flooded organizations and people in need,” Bogguss says. “Many of the donors did not have the time to get to know some of the individual nonprofits directly and they were quickly able to understand that the Community Foundation already had this knowledge.”
“A lot of things came along which were unforeseeable – natural disaster, economic downturn, loss of local employers,” explains Bogguss. “All of these challenges occurred from June, 2008, through the end of that year. The Community Foundation was and is one of the most nimble and knowledgeable organizations that can help donors distribute funds.” The Community Foundation’s Flood Fund made its last grant award in 2012.
One of the key benefits of investing with the Community Foundation, says Bogguss, is that donors don’t have to worry about vetting individual organizations themselves. The Community Foundation has the “horses and the resources”, he said. “The organization has the experience on both the board and staff level to be an efficient administrator of donor funds.”
In addition to a strong organizational infrastructure and sound investment management, the Community Foundation has what Bogguss calls “community intelligence”: a broad and deep knowledge of community needs, as well as a strong commitment to donor constituents and local nonprofits.
“Our job as advisors isn’t to ‘sell’ one charitable organization over another,” he explained. “But if we have a client that is undecided or ambivalent, the Community Foundation offers a broad range of purposes and techniques that can be pursued like donor-advised funds, endowments, charitable trust, designated gifts and nonprofit support.”
J. Scott Bogguss is an attorney with Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC in Cedar Rapids.