Consider ‘The 5% Solution’: Community Foundations Week Nov. 12-18

Posted November 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Our community is fortunate to have people who cared enough to create a local public charitable foundation in 2002, the El Dorado Springs Community Foundation (EDSCF).

Over its 11 years of serving the El Dorado Springs area, the EDSCF has assets of nearly $375,000 as of Sept. 30. More significantly, it has made grants and distributions of more than $312,000 back to our area.

As we celebrate national Community Foundations Week Nov. 12-18, the EDSCF is proud to be part of the network of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, which is the 65th largest of more than 700 across the nation. It also is the 9th busiest community foundation in the number of gifts and grants processed annually – nearly 18,700 in the 2013 fiscal year. This fits with the Ozarks’ culture of giving – we don’t live in a wealthy region, but we are generous with donations of even $5 or $10 at a time.

We also are members of the Alliance of Missouri Community Foundations, which has good reason to emphasize our role this week. The Alliance is promoting a statewide study called the Transfer of Wealth that could transform philanthropy in Missouri.

This study, produced with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, combines aggregate data from tax returns with demographic information to see how Missouri will fare during our nation’s largest-ever intergenerational transfer of wealth over the next 10 to 50 years. Cedar County’s members of the Greatest Generation who returned from World War II to rebuild America and their Baby Boomer heirs will pass on an estimated $350 million in accumulated wealth over the next 10 years.

But our lifestyles are more mobile now and towns like ours struggle to maintain residents, so it’s possible that accumulated wealth will follow families wherever they go. Because community foundations are steeped in the places we serve, we want our areas to not just survive, but thrive.

That’s why the Alliance of Community Foundations is advocating “The 5% Solution.” If Missourians will consider leaving just 5 percent of their estates to charitable causes in their communities – churches, schools, nonprofit services, parks, whatever they cherish about their hometowns – the accumulated impact could be more than $17 million in 10 years, just in Cedar County. That’s the power of endowments where a corpus of money stays intact to pay out annual distributions. And that’s transformative.

Helping provide for ourselves fits our independent Ozarks nature. Philanthropy is really just a fancy word for what we’ve always done in the Ozarks, which is to take care of our neighbors. It also lets local residents make local decisions on how we can best help each other.

We encourage everyone to take a moment to think about the impact they could make by considering their own 5 percent solution. Take care of personable responsibilities and then leave a little for your community. This could have an amazing impact on your community for years to come.

Consider ‘The 5% Solution’

Community Foundations Week Nov. 12-18