I've spent the past few days thinking about community foundations. And I do mean literally thinking about the significant role they play in our communities. As a board member for The Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, I spent the first part of this week at a community foundation boot camp in San Diego with representatives from about a dozen other California community foundations, ranging from Silicon Valley's Community Foundation — the largest in the world with over $7 billion in investments — to San Benito County’s Community Foundation, one of the smallest in the state. Our community foundation, the only accredited community foundation in Inland Southern California, has $92 million in assets and is somewhere in the middle.
The first community foundation was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914 with a vision to pool the charitable resources of the community’s donors in an endowment for the betterment of the community it served. There are now 800 independent community foundations in the United States collectively managing over $48 billion in assets and distributing over $4 billion a year to community needs. There are over 1,700 worldwide, all unique in structure and purpose, but sharing a similar role of providing philanthropic leadership and stewardship of community resources.
Next week The Community Foundation is hosting two community celebrations in honor of our 75th anniversary: one in Riverside on Sunday May 22nd and the other in Palm Springs on Monday May 23rd. Both events are free to the public, kicking-off a yearlong anniversary celebration that culminates with a spectacular gala on October 15th. I invite you to join us at one or more of these events, and encourage you to click here to learn why I personally support the efforts of The Community Foundation and our mission to strengthen Inland Southern California through philanthropy and create "a vibrant, generous and just region with unlimited opportunities."