Legacy #1: Letter from the Director

Delene PorterA hearty welcome to the first edition of Legacy, Athens Area Community Foundation’s Quarterly Newsletter for the philanthropic communities of Athens-Clarke, Oconee, Barrow, Jackson, Madison, and Oglethorpe. We are driven to help passionate donors leave permanent legacies; foster strategic philanthropy; and shape effective responses to community needs through collaboration.

AACF stewards 50 charitable funds totaling more than $2.33 million in community assets that are pooled and invested to minimize risk, reduce investment charges and maximize returns.

We help nonprofits and donors preserve and grow their philanthropic assets to benefit a broad range of issues and organizations according to the donors’ wishes for now and towards future generations.

AACF’s donor advised fund holders recommend grants throughout the year to support alma maters to international relief work to churches, to the local art museum and the food bank. As you’ll read in the article about the Clarke Middle Kitchen Garden Corps, AACF identifies opportunities to match our Donor Advised Fund holders’ goals and build a bridge. Since AACF opened in 2008, donors have granted over $400,000 to local causes.

AACF is regularly called upon by groups and individuals to find areas of greatest need (and the partners who can help leverage the greatest change): it’s no secret that despite being home to over 150 social service nonprofits, one in three children in the center of our region lives below the poverty line. While the nonprofit sector provides critical services, leverages dollars into the local economy, and promotes quality of life, many of us share a growing concern about overlapping services and continued generational poverty. For nonprofits and donors alike, the need for efficiency and results is urgent. In the article about the Community Platform, you’ll learn more about AACF’s investment in a process to give providers, consumers, and donors street-level data on the strengths and deficits in our social service infrastructure. As strategic philanthropists, we can’t truly know how effectively we’ve moved the needle on poverty unless we are measuring our community vibrancy over time.

As a local organization with deep community roots, AACF is a hub which connects donors, nonprofits, and community leaders to create opportunities. Professional advisors–attorneys, accountants, and brokers–include AACF in their professional toolkit. AACF is a flexible, tax-advantaged vehicle for donors to leave a permanent legacy without losing control of the direction of their philanthropy. We handle contributions, manage assets, and facilitate grantmaking to help clients impact the issues they care most about, for generations to come. In the Professional Advisor Spotlight you’ll hear from Kelly Hollow, attorney with Fortson, Bentley, & Griffin, about her work with planned giving and AACF.

To foster strategic philanthropy, AACF works with philanthropically minded families, businesses, and civic groups to facilitate grants informed by passions and connections, situated in the broader context of community needs and assets. I’d like to especially thank Lightmark Media for helping craft and launch AACF’s Legacy newsletter. Each of us has time, talent, and treasure to contribute to a better community. We look forward to working with you.

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