There were three major events in 1964 in Jacksonville: the destruction caused by Hurricane Dora, being able to buy a $5 ticket to see The Beatles perform in the Gator Bowl and the establishment of a nonprofit organization that has become The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.
That history lesson was delivered Monday to the Rotary Club of Jacksonville by Nina Waters, president of the foundation.
She reviewed some of the organization’s five-decade history of supporting hundreds of charitable efforts by administering the philanthropy of donors.
Waters also talked about how philanthropy is changing and how the foundation can adapt to serve the needs of its benefactors in the future.
Since its beginning, the foundation has awarded more than $275 million to more than 400 charities through the contributions of 434 donors. Grants awarded in 2013 totaled $36 million.
“Different donors have different ideas and different visions,” Waters said. “We help donors get in touch with their philanthropy.”
The foundation has assets of nearly $300 million and may surpass that mark by Dec. 31, said Waters.
Sixty-eight percent of the foundation’s grants and awards are made to organizations in the five Northeast Florida counties and in Putnam County.
Organizations outside the local area in Florida have received 6 percent of the foundation’s grants and 26 percent of grants go to entities outside Florida. Most of the awards that cross the state line are to institutions of higher learning attended by donors, Waters said.
Programs supported include public education initiatives, neighborhood revitalization, services for aging adults and veterans and the arts.
Waters said one of the newer programs for the foundation works with people who will one day inherit their family’s wealth. She said some members of the younger generation do not wish to administer their family’s future philanthropy, so donating to The Community Foundation allows the wealth to contribute to the community in the areas of interest for each individual donor by designating an organization or a cause to support.
“With a lot of our donors, their children don’t want to manage a private family foundation. Donors can give to The Community Foundation and the children can advise the funds,” Waters said.
Another advantage of The Community Foundation that appears to appeal to the next generation of donors is anonymity, she said. Since the 750 community foundations in the U.S. are not bound by many of the disclosure requirements mandated by the IRS that apply to other types of philanthropic organizations, donors have the option to make contributions without publicly disclosing personal information.
One of the most unusual gifts the foundation has received in its history was Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver’s riverfront home in San Jose. If the property sells for the $4.7 million listed price, the Weavers will endow $1 million in the buyer’s name and then donate the balance to the Weaver Family Fund within The Community Foundation.
“The biggest question we are asked is if we can rent out the home for wedding receptions. We can’t,” said Waters.
While the Weavers’ donation of their home is one of the largest non-monetary donations the foundation has received, it’s not the first time an unusual gift has been made.
“We can take all types of gifts. We own a restaurant in Palatka and we’ve got some interesting pieces of art we’re not quite sure what to do with,” said Waters.