Community foundations are some of the most dynamic and innovative public charities. We are dedicated to doing good by harnessing the transformative power of philanthropy. We occupy a unique space in the communities we serve and play important roles, such as: building capacity by nurturing the nonprofit sector, expanding philanthropic capital by establishing and growing funds, aligning social action by connecting stakeholders around issues, and deploying philanthropic capital through grantmaking. In 2019, CFOSJ leaned into all these roles in unprecedented ways for our organization.
CFOSJ worked with regional and local leaders to convene Inland California Rising – an all-day conference meant to strengthen and increase investment in the inland region. Held at University of the Pacific, Inland California Rising brought together foundations, business leaders, and elected officials from throughout the Central Valley and Inland California, to bring awareness of the disparities in educational and health outcomes between the coastal and inland regions, and the lack of public and private funding flowing into the Central Valley. Efforts like these have galvanized support to boost investment in California’s heartland and have created momentum to sustain other efforts to make big, bold change in our region.
On a similar level, CFOSJ deepened its commitment to regional change by co-founding the Central Valley Legislative Roundtable with three other community foundations from the Central Valley: Stanislaus, Fresno, and Kern.
Once a quarter, each community foundation brings together state and federal representatives to discuss some of the region’s most pressing issues such as: education, health, and the economy. These discussions help inform policymakers about the innovative work being done in our respective areas and how we can work together to create change in our communities.
CFOSJ supports it’s community work through the administration of philanthropic assets of our donors. Even though 2019 saw a roller-coaster year in the stock market, net assets at the foundation continued to grow. In addition, our growth was propelled by the generosity from individuals, agencies, and other foundation fundholders. In total, CFOSJ accepted $4 million in contributions on behalf of new and existing fundholders, ending the year with $17.5 million in net assets under management. Grant-making also steadily increased to $1.8 million this year, compared to $1.2 million in 2018.
The work and accomplishments of CFOSJ would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and fundholders. Together, we form a community of philanthropists, united in the belief that we can make a difference in the lives of others and committed to causes larger than ourselves. CFOSJ is appreciative of its many contributors— individuals, families, businesses, institutions, and nonprofit organizations. It is in great measure that because of them, we can continue to uplift our county and the Central Valley to reach new heights.