Strategies for giving in tough economic times
By Robert Brischetto
How can a community foundation in the middle of a global economic crisis address local needs and help donors achieve their charitable goals? That was the challenge faced by the board members of the Bandera Community Foundation as they kicked off 2009 with a planning retreat last Saturday.
The foundation was established in 1998 by a group of local citizens to develop private resources addressing community needs and improving the quality of life for residents of Bandera County and the surrounding region. The areas of interest of the local community foundation include, but are not limited to, community improvement, natural resource conservation, education, health care, human services, animal and wildlife protection, arts and culture, youth development and disaster relief.
The board ended 2008 by electing Dave Demers as president. Demers served as the first president of the foundation when it began a decade ago. He comes back to lead the foundation in building local financial and leadership resources and bringing nonprofits together to collaborate on projects improving the quality of life in Bandera County.
During the retreat, Demers assisted directors identify goals and develop strategies. Here are some of the philanthropic plans you can expect to materialize this year:
• Celebrate Bandera, the foundation’s premier annual event, will be held during Labor Day weekend. From Sept. 4 through 6, Bandera celebrates its rich western history with a series of events such as a Longhorn Cattle Drive and parade down Main Street, Kings of Western Swing concert series; Wild West Show and Bull Riders Challenge; Cowboy Capital Mounted Shooters; Circle of Life Pow Wow; and historical reenactments and arts and crafts show. For more information, visit www.celebratebandera.com.
• Celebrity Fundraiser to benefit the foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund. Originating with the first Celebrate Bandera event, the Disaster Relief Fund helped Bandera County residents affected by the floods of 2002. Most of the proceeds will go to the Disaster Relief Fund and the remainder for the foundation’s operating fund.
• National Philanthropy Day, a biannual program of the foundation, is slated for mid-November. The awards program recognizes the philanthropic work by Bandera organizations, businesses and individuals.
• Support for nonprofit organizations is part of the mission of the foundation. A Leadership Development Workshop is planned as an addendum to the philanthropy recognition program. Future plans include establishing a Nonprofit Resource Center in the Village of Hope to foster collaboration, leadership and organizational development.
• Donor Development Program informs families and organizations about the benefits of establishing a BCF Donor Fund. This will be accomplished through a series of educational programs designed to help donors select the fund most appropriate to their concerns and interests.
The board also established a fiscal framework for the Bandera Community Gardens, chaired by board member Debby Gibson. The community gardens project is examining several venues for vegetable and flower garden plots available to organizations and individuals at no charge.
The Foundation seeks input from Bandera County residents on how BCF can better serve the community. Anyone interested in volunteering for any of the foundation’s initiatives or programs is encouraged to get in touch with the Demers, at 830-535-6982 or through the foundation website, http://www.banderacommunityfoundation.org/contact.htm.