The Leach brothers, Dan and Don, had no idea the land their family homesteaded in Colorado more than 100 years ago would become a source for creating a fund making important donations to the elderly, the arts and education.
As the sole-surviving family members, the brothers donated a portion of their family’s Douglas county homestead to Community First Foundation. The Foundation used the sale of the property to create a Donor-Advised Fund called the Leach Family Fund. This type of fund relies on the donors to advise the Foundation in how the money is distributed.
“There is accountability as donors to make sure that when we give a gift we really scrutinize all aspects to make sure it is managed and distributed in a way that produces the maximum benefit possible. Community First Foundation helps us do that,” said Dan Leach.
Joan Brennan takes a hands-on approach to philanthropy. At Community First Foundation, Joan found a team eager to work with her to find the best options for her charitable giving, facilitating site visits, interviews and targeted requests for proposals to nonprofits.
“It’s important to me to be a participant in the organizations I fund. They were very willing to work with us and go outside the standard box,” said Joan, who founded the fund five years ago with her late husband, Larry.
Even though Joan is knowledgeable about many organizations and an expert in getting information, she values the credibility and resources that come from working with Community First Foundation.
“It’s been a way to feel connected with the bigger institution and that has been very helpful. I just don’t think anybody else right now is providing that kind of service,” she added.
The staff at Community First Foundation has also helped Joan find new organizations to consider for grants. “I do like to be able to cast a broader net. There is more need out there than I may know and I want to be able to address it,” she said.
For Lynne D. Valencia, a donor-advised fund was an educational tool to introduce her son and her eight year-old granddaughter to giving back to the community.
Lynne is letting her son and granddaughter make the decisions about where the money will go.
“It’s the Valencia Family Fund. I wanted to use this opportunity to give them an understanding of philanthropy and what that means. As the fund grows and we’re able to disperse grants, I want them to really learn about giving and making an impact through philanthropy,” said Lynne.
“I hope that I have raised my son with a conscience and an obligation to give back. I think that this will give him that opportunity to act on that,” she said. “This is just the start of a lifelong conversation of giving back.”
Lynne learned about the advantages of setting up a fund while serving on the Community First Foundation Board of Directors. Before that, Lynne said she thought that donor-advised funds were only for the very wealthy. However, she learned that all levels of investors can benefit from the tax advantages of a donor-advised fund.
Working with Community Foundation advisors helped her make the decision. “They really wanted to take the time to educate me about the funds and I feel like I am in really good hands.”