4th of July, Mom’s apple pie — and community foundations

Happy 4th of July! I love all things around this holiday. Several of my favorite family members and friends celebrate birthdays this week, including my husband and my dad. We’re heading to a treasured friend’s Big 5-0 over the long weekend and also hitting the beach.

And who doesn’t love fireworks?

Before the holiday fizzles like an old sparkler, I’d like to pay homage to the real reason for all the hoopla. Like many holidays, the true meaning can get buried in menu planning and activities.

I promise not to rehash the American Revolution, but I am going to make one of those broad, sweeping parallels to relate this blog to one of the important roles of a community foundation.  It’s about independence.

One of the most valuable aspects of a community foundation is the independence it engenders in the local community. Most of our 60 affiliate foundations across the state have robust community grant-making endowments that support local nonprofits and initiatives critical to the quality of life. Nearly all of our affiliate partners also have a healthy list of donor advised, agency and designated funds established to support their local communities.

What is more American than “taking care of our own?”

We would never underestimate the value of these endowments to the health of our communities across the state. But now, more than ever, the value is palpable.

Government cutbacks at local, state and federal levels are brutal, with no visible end in sight to fiscal slashing. The role of a community foundation as an important local resource for meeting local needs has never been more dramatic.

It has been said that the definition of a truly excellent community is the presence of a community foundation. It shows vision on the part of its leadership. It illustrates responsibility. And it contributes to that independent streak that makes us proud to be Americans.

Let the fireworks begin!