My Turn: Building a better community through local philanthropy

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010

The gifts have been opened, and yes, some already returned. Regrettably, the holiday season of giving is fading away rapidly as we get ready for the new year.

For most of us, holiday time is when we seem to think more about and give generously to others, but at the Juneau Community Foundation our season of giving lasts all year. The JCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support community causes that they care about. Through these funds, the JCF has given back $115,000 to Juneau this year, and a total of $375,000 since its inception only five years ago. This is an outstanding achievement and a trend that will continue to grow as the community at large becomes more familiar with the JCF.

Many thanks go to those in our community who have established donor-advised funds, memorial and field of interest funds, or special endowments that make annual grant awards possible, as well as ensuring long-term funding for a healthy and vibrant community into the future. These donors "get it." They want to give back to Juneau, and they understand how easy it is through their community foundation.

Our job at the JCF is to connect you to the causes you care about, with guidance and integrity. We help you transform your wishes into long-term community benefit. Your funds are professionally invested and managed in large and diversified portfolios for safe and maximum benefit. We help you achieve tax benefits through your giving by working with you, your financial advisors and your estate attorneys.

As prudent stewards, the JCF strives to be community leaders and conveners, working with existing non-profits and charities that can benefit from our donor's support. We are the connectors, encouragers, and activators doing all we can to help identify local needs so your donations can have the greatest impact. Our board members, staff and donors work passionately as a catalyzing force to create a better future for all by addressing the community's most critical or persistent challenges, inclusively uniting people, institutions and resources to produce significant, widely shared and lasting results.

As 2011 looms ahead, you may be thinking about the future for yourself, your family and your community. It's a good time to consider how you want to give back to Juneau. It's never too soon to make your will, establish a trust or make changes to your existing estate plans. As you ponder these important matters, consider establishing your own donor-advised fund, contributing to an existing field of interest fund, or creating a bequest that will support Juneau after you are gone. Planning your giving now has great advantages for you, your heirs and your community.

For me, giving back is what it's all about. The longer I live in Juneau and watch my grandchildren grow I'm ever more grateful for this beautiful community and its fine people. I've included the Juneau Community Foundation in my will as my way of gifting forward the many blessings that living here has provided me and my family.

To assist you with your philanthropic needs, I encourage you to view the JCF website at, or call 523-5450 for details so that you can give back to Juneau too. You'll never regret it.

• Sioux Douglas is a 35-year Juneau resident and President of the Board of Directors at the Juneau Community Foundation. She is committed to affecting changes in Juneau now and for the future that benefit the common good of the community.

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