January 18, 2023

Pause and Reflect

By Bob Sorge

Bob portrait 2021

One of the things I enjoy most about this time of year is that the dark, cold months provide an opportunity to hunker down - to pause and reflect on the past year as we look ahead to the next.

At MCF it’s a particularly gratifying time because our Board of Governors approves Community Impact grants at its December meeting and there is usually a flurry of press surrounding the announcement of awards.

In 2022, those grants included support for organizations such as the Urban League, Prairie Music & Arts, Goodman Community Center, Madison Public Market and many more. More than 70% of the grants support projects devoted to addressing disparities in our community.

The decision-making process for awarding the grants involved several rounds of review, which culminated in an excellent discussion at the Grantmaking Committee meeting. We are grateful to have such thoughtful, well-informed committee members engaged in the process.

The impetus for all these grants are the donors who make them possible. Among the incredible gifts we receive every year (approximately $29 million in 2022) are those from people who contribute to MCF’s Priority and Community Impact Funds. These are people who love the greater Madison area and want to make it stronger – and entrust the Foundation with contributions to do that. These unrestricted gifts enable MCF to address the needs and opportunities of the community as they evolve over time.

If you’ve read anything about these programs, the name Marie Graber probably sounds familiar. MCF’s Community Impact Fund started with an estate gift from Marie in 1991. MCF’s solid investment and distribution policies have allowed the endowment that gift created to grow. MCF has given out twice the value of that original gift over the last 31 years – and the fund continues to grow in value. It will continue to distribute back to the community for decades and generations. That’s the power of an endowment.

Many other donors have joined Marie with contributions to the Community Impact Fund over the years. Gifts have ranged from $2 to $15 million. That broad dispersion makes me think about being the “community’s foundation” (emphasis on the apostrophe “s”). People with widely varying capacity for gifts have a home at MCF. They can all be part of creating a permanent legacy for our community – and they do.

Something truly special happens when you bring people together for good - and it happens at MCF every day. Once again in 2022, people responded to the world around us with generosity. As we receive messages of gratitude and accolades for the impact of the Community Foundation, know that we share each recognition with you. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your hope for the future. And thank you for making Madison a better place for all.

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