Building a Better City Through Philanthropy
Looking for a way to make sure your philanthropy dollars make the greatest impact? PPCF has the answer.
Giving Together is a cofunding initiative of the PPCF. Local funders pool their giving to address important community issues. Giving Together funders are Dakota Foundation, Leighty Foundation, Moniker Foundation, Petritz Fund, RNR Foundation, Strub-Heer Fund, and Pikes Peak Community Foundation.
For more than 90 years, our city has been the fortunate recipient of shared personal wealth designed to benefit future generations. Founded in 1928 as the Colorado Springs Community Trust, today’s Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCF) was born of collaboration. This rich, 90-year legacy has attracted support from generous families who love their community and have invested in the Pikes Peak region’s quality of life and evolving needs.
A group of five wealthy citizens first saw the need for a permanent charitable endowment. It was begun as a collection of separate trusts managed by three local banks: US Bank, Bank One, and Wells Fargo. The founding documents of the Colorado Springs Community Trust included this directive: “to meet the changing needs for charitable gifts with flexibility…Afford an opportunity alike to persons of wealth and modest means to make their gifts [more effective] by distributing them as if an aggregate fund.”
The move distinguished and elevated the city’s reputation as a quality place to live. Modern times, however, require innovative approaches. Today, the Foundation has expanded and updated its mission. It focuses on helping fund donors navigate nonprofit annual reports and financials through the Giving Together program. By working collaboratively, its fund holders are able to meet the evolving challenges of growth, natural disasters, and redevelopment in southeast Colorado Springs. The shift also motivated board members of the Community Trust to establish a foundation that would better serve the needs of philanthropists and the broader community. Initially, PPCF and the Colorado Springs Community Trust operated alongside each other with combined administrative and grant-making objectives. By 2009, the Colorado Springs Community Trust was fully dissolved. In its place, the Pikes Peak Community Foundation incorporated the founders’ original vision but updated it to meet today’s needs.
The region is now home to an estimated 1,400 local nonprofits. They range from health and faith-based organizations to those focused on animals, arts, and culture as well as international initiatives, human services, and more. Each relies on building donor relationships. Many reach out through heartwarming year-end campaigns that inspire us to give generously. But the Web-driven world has changed considerably in recent years.
GoFundMe pages, social media, and phone solicitations are changing the way major fund holders approach philanthropy. Many initiatives are legit. Others originate from unverified sources. Traditions of raising money at glamourous galas, walks, breakfasts, or luncheons are still popular. But large or small fund holders in search of vetted, financially solid community philanthropy must either do their own homework or find a trusted resource to analyze and recommend where their dollars will make the greatest impact.
That’s where the Pikes Peak Community Foundation plays a vital role. Since its first grant was given, it has made an estimated $117 million investment in the region. In fact, according to nonprofit analysts at Charity Navigator, Colorado continues to exceed national averages for per capita giving.
The Foundation’s success is well documented. As CEO Gary Butterworth points out, sharing a portion of a family’s wealth or assets to benefit the city’s future continues to be a primary goal for the Foundation’s donor investors. “Many think our services are only for the really wealthy. But our advisory services are available to all.” A growing city, he says, can’t just look to the private sector and government to solve all of the issues created by today’s disastrous wildfires and broader community problems. “Success relies on a collective effort,” he says. “In a city of 700,000 residents, a little adds up to a lot. For our fund holders, family is a first priority, but even a portion of an estate or bequest is valued. Today’s philanthropists are interested more and more in finding ways to understand the impact of their gifts. We work to inspire people to plan for the future.”
PPCF’s donor-advised fund allows fund holders to put structure around their philanthropy, providing support for these nonprofits now as well as seeing these organizations receive grants automatically well into the future.
Response to the Foundation’s donor advising has met with broad support. Ben and Raynelle Kuckel moved to the area 20 years ago to be near family. The couple, who support a number of Pikes Peak region arts, higher education gifts and scholarships, land preservation, and environmental causes, say they found the Pikes Peak Community Foundation “the perfect organization to partner with. It is handling the investment of our funds according to a sound plan, investment committee, and investment manager,” Ben explains. “Working with the Foundation gives us the flexibility we were seeking for making grants—both now during our lifetimes and as the entity to automatically administer the distribution of funds according to our wishes once we have passed on.”
“Many well-intentioned donors simply don’t have the time or know-how to research where their dollars will make the greatest impact,“ Butterworth says. “Although the Internet age allows easy access to annual reports, impact assessments, and demographic information, PPCF’s goal is to assure fund holders their philanthropic dollars reach their intended destination.”
Pikes Peak Community Foundation
102 South Tejon St. #530 / 719.389.1251 / ppcf.org