December 27, 2019

Thank You for Making MCF the Community's Foundation

Bob Sorge

Bob Sorge

It’s a privilege to work at the community’s foundation. I don’t think I can say that often enough. Every day people from all walks of life come together to make investments in endowments held by MCF for the future of our community. It’s an act of optimism made all the more special because it is done together with our neighbors and friends.

One of my daily activities is signing thank-you notes. It will never cost MCF more in my time to sign a thank you than it did for the donor to earn the money for the contribution they sent to us. And signing thank yous gives me the opportunity to reflect on our donors. It’s an amazing group of people – with some names you might recognize and many you would not.

Gifts Large and Small Paint a Picture of Community Giving

Last year, in 2018, MCF received about $16 million in gifts. Those gifts (these are actual numbers) ranged from $2 to $2 million. That’s a pretty wide range, but fairly typical for MCF. About half of the gifts we received were less than $100, and about half were more – making $100 the median gift size.

As we bring 2019 to a close, MCF has already received more than $30 million in gifts this year. The range and medians are very similar to what we have seen in the past. Importantly, the demographics of our donor base are just as varied, and expanding.

Middleton adope an envelope
Middleton Public Library's "Adopt an Envelope" Campaign is a fun way for supporters like Hannah to give money for its Next Chapter campaign.

For every major gift we realize, there is a donor like Hannah, a young girl who contributed $5 to support her library (the Middleton Public Library), because the library is important to her.

This year we also received $415 from a group of families who held a lemonade stand fundraiser to benefit the Immigration Assistance Fund. Could there be a better example of community?

And recently the Henry Vilas Zoological Society contributed $8 million to benefit the Zoo, now and in the future. We were humbled that both the County and Zoological Society viewed MCF as a trusted third party that could be a resource to bridge the gap between them.

A Foundation for Everyone

When people hear the word “foundation” they immediately think of wealth. MCF has $275 million in assets, and yes, among the gifts in 2019 are truly awe-inspiring contributions from generous people with significant means. At the same time, the vast majority of gifts are modest in comparison. But they are no less meaningful.

Our mission is to enhance the common good through philanthropy. We see Madison’s future as a vibrant and generous place where all people thrive – and we bring people from all walks of life together to help fulfill that vision. Our donors are living the change they wish to see in the world. We welcome them all; there’s room enough for everyone.