Yesterday I was honored to accept a resolution passed by Florida’s Governor and Cabinet honoring Florida’s community foundations for “their service to communities all across the state.” The resolution was introduced by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam at the April 22 Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee, and approved by Governor Rick Scott, Commissioner Putnam and the other members of the Florida Cabinet, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
The resolution also congratulated the community foundation field on its centennial anniversary. The first community foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914.
In the resolution, the Governor and Cabinet acknowledged the valuable role that Florida community foundations play to connect “people who care with causes that matter to make a difference in their communities.” The resolution went on to note that thanks to the work of Florida’s community foundations, “local residents who have an in-depth understanding of their communities’ issues and needs are able to combine their charitable funds and the future earnings from those gifts for the benefit of all, improving the quality of life in those areas.”
In introducing the resolution, Commissioner Putnam praised the state’s community foundations for making a “powerful impact in our communities.” He expressed his appreciation for community foundations providing “extraordinary leadership and valuable support for all the causes that people find worthwhile,” calling them the “salt and light in our society.”
In my remarks at the Cabinet meeting, I thanked Governor Scott, Commissioner Putnam and the entire Florida Cabinet for acknowledging the important work of Florida’s community foundations in helping donors meet their philanthropic goals and helping philanthropy flourish in our state. I pointed out that the work of Florida community foundations and all of FPN’s members was evidenced by many of the Floridians and groups honored at the Cabinet meeting, from the Tallahassee Animal Shelter that presented a dog available for adoption, which has a charitable fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida; to the teachers and students honored at the meeting, who benefit from the education-focused grants of many of our members; to the Girl Scouts who started the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance, who are among the many youth-serving organizations supported by FPN members.
Florida is home to 29 community foundations that cover every county of the state. Community foundations in Florida have grown over the past 10 years from $589 million to more than $1.84 billion in total charitable assets, according to FPN research. They gave grants of $161 million in 2012 alone, making them among the largest vehicles for community good in the state.
To learn more, read our press release about the resolution or view the official resolution document. You can also view a video from the Cabinet meeting of Commissioner Putnam’s remarks about Florida community foundations and my address to the Governor and Cabinet (the remarks start at the 2:19:56 mark). For more information on Florida community foundations, visit www.communityfoundationsfl.org.
– David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network