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LETTER: Community foundations have huge impact

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During the week of Nov. 12-18, the Perry County Community Foundation will join more than 700 community foundations across America for Community Foundation Week. For more than 20 years, the effort has raised awareness about the increasingly important role of these philanthropic organizations in fostering local collaboration and innovation to address persistent civic and economic challenges.

During the week, Perry County Community Foundation encourages everyone to celebrate National Philanthropy day, Nov. 15, by giving thanks and paying it forward.

Community foundations impact lives, solve problems and improve futures. In a down economy, with limited resources and a growing need for services to help families in need, we are more determined than ever to bring our community partners together to find innovative and effective solutions to some of our most challenging social problems.

Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits that are the heart of strong, vibrant communities. This past year, the Perry County Community Foundation has provided grants to organizations to enhance our parks, buy radios for volunteer firefighters, fund playground equipment for special-needs students, improve early-childhood literacy and many more important projects that address community needs.

Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. Every state in the United States is home to at least one community foundation - large and small, urban and rural - that is advancing solutions to a wide range of social issues. In Indiana, every county has at least one community foundation thanks in part to the foresight of Lilly Endowment Inc.

Launched in 1989 through a proclamation by former president George H.W. Bush, the first Community Foundation Week included a congressional briefing about the work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private and nonprofit sectors to address community problems.

SALLY HOUZANME

Director, Perry County Community Foundation

(More letters appear in our print edition.)