Even during good times, the needs and opportunities in our community outpace philanthropy’s ability to fill them. But the August 10 derecho, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, has made this gap even larger.
Donors John and Christine North wanted to support the community after the devastating storm. With a donor-advised fund already established, they were able to make a grant to the Disaster Recovery Fund within its first week.
“We hope our modest contributions combined with those of others will enable timely and meaningful assistance,” John and Christine said. “Having a donor-advised fund allows us to quickly designate contributions to special programs created to address local needs arising from tragic events such as the derecho and COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Norths established a donor-advised fund in 2007 and have used it to support a number of local nonprofit organizations over the years. “We initially established our funds at the Community Foundation to underwrite some of our on-going charitable donations and to serve as an integral part of our estate plan,” the couple said. The flexibility of donor-advised funds has allowed them to adapt their giving in response to this year’s challenges.
Giving from donor-advised funds for COVID-19 relief has totaled $148,757 from 54 grants; and giving from donor-advised funds to support derecho recovery has totaled $343,840 from 31 grants. Donor advisors have made distributions to the disaster funds at the Community Foundation as well as nonprofits they care about to help them during this difficult year.
“It has been moving to see the generosity of our fund holders who want to help our community during the disasters of 2020,” says Michelle Beisker, Senior Vice President of Development. “We have been a resource for many donors inquiring about how they can help.”
Giving from donor-advised funds is on the rise nationally in 2020. The National Philanthropic Trust noted a 120% increase in the amount granted from these funds in March, and community foundations throughout the Midwest have seen similar trends.
“We’re proud to partner with donors like the Norths,” says Michelle. “As our community continues to recover, we will continue to communicate with donors to connect them with needs and opportunities so they can make an impact on the lives of people in Linn County.”
To learn how to establish a donor-advised fund at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, click here.