Community foundation celebrates 20 years of giving
Past board of directors members and those who have benefited and supported the Community Foundation of Pulaski County gathered to celebrated 20 years of philanthropy Monday evening.
In 2016, the community foundation oversaw 105 individuals funds, distributed $321,464 in grants and awarded $68,348 in scholarships. The grants supported projects that ranged from community development, education, human services, environment, health, recreation and youth.
“All the board members have put in a lot of work over the years,” said community foundation board of directors president Gregg Malott.
Malott said the celebration was an opportunity for the foundation and the community to appreciate what can be done when they work together. He gave those in the audience who were founders of the foundation a chance to speak. The founding board of directors was said to be a who’s who of the community.
One of the former board of directors members, Mike O’Connor was one of the first to speak. O’Connor said when the first board organized they knew that the community foundation “would be a big deal. It has really turned out to be something very special.”
He said it was very stressful getting started but “we all were passionate about it.” The hard part wasn’t necessarily raising the funds for the foundation but it was difficult to give it away. Several meetings were held to decide who would receive the funds.
He thanked those who are still doing the hard work to keep the foundation alive.
Mary Lou Bonnell said she was a board member of the foundation from 1996 to 2006. She became involved because she wanted to give back to the community that provided her “a loving and caring place to work, raise a family and live my life.”
She said when it came time to decide who would receive the funds the community foundation was overseeing it was tough because not everyone came to the same conclusion.
Through the years, the foundation has worked to meet matching funds and distribute the Lilly Endowment Scholarship.
The 2016 annual report of the community foundation was available for those who were in attendance. Malott said the report gives an indication of the extensive work that is put into the foundation.