By Diana Anderson, President and CEO
Last night, I had the honor of attending the Granite Falls Area Community Foundation’s annual grant awards ceremony and donor appreciation event. They’re one of our 26 local affiliates. This year’s event was extra special because guests were the first to hear a very exciting announcement.
The Bush Foundation is awarding the Granite Falls community $1.8 million in honor of its native son Archibald Bush. The Granite Falls Area Community Foundation will direct the majority of the gift. (Read the press release.)
This is the dream.
Even though Southwest Initiative Foundation has been around since 1986, we didn’t start a community philanthropy program until 1999. At that time, partnering with communities to create endowments as a way to keep wealth in our region was a leap of faith by our board of directors. Today, it’s one of the most powerful things we’re doing.
The beauty of these philanthropic partnerships is we each can focus on what we do best. Local advisory boards know their communities and can direct fundraising and grantmaking. Southwest Initiative Foundation has the infrastructure and technical expertise to provide operational support and regulatory compliance.
This local community foundation was the vision of Granite Falls resident and community leader Avis Freitag back in 1993. She and other early leaders had great passion and energy for building a community endowment but wrestled with the complexity of creating and operating a charitable foundation. On Feb. 11, 2009, a steering committee including Avis and many of those early visionaries was established and entered into an agreement with Southwest Initiative Foundation.
Together, we imagined a day like this when labors of love would result in such a transformational gift! Granite Falls board members, donors, grant recipients — you are the spark that ignited local philanthropy and involvement in your community.
The $1.8 million from the Bush Foundation is remarkable — and the passion and vision that lives within the Granite Falls board and community is what is going to make this gift so powerful.
We’re thrilled to be a conduit and to have the tools that make giving to the places we call “home” easy to do. Thank you to the Bush Foundation for extending Archibald Bush’s legacy. And thank you to the Granite Falls Area Community Foundation board for your bold leadership to go after resources that will make this area even stronger.
Congratulations for shining a bright and positive light on this incredible southwest Minnesota community!