For 100 years, community foundations have been a unique tool for Americans to address opportunities and challenges through philanthropy. The Cleveland Foundation was the first and today there are more than 700 across the country, including SWIF and our 24 local community foundation affiliate partners.
Something that makes community foundations truly unique is our use of endowments, permanent resources that provide the greatest flexibility to respond to the needs and opportunities of our region. The contributions to the endowment are invested and never spent—only the earnings are used to support our work.
Our Early Childhood Initiative is a great example of why SWIF’s General Endowment is important.
The program has been in place for 10 years and supported by some external funding. However, as funders have moved their resources to support other compelling projects, our endowment continues to provide a steady stream to support this work. After all, helping our young children thrive is work that will never be finished.