Centennial Celebration includes Community Foundation of Utah

The Community Foundation of Utah is joining about 700 colleague organizations nationwide in celebrating a century since the first community foundation was started in Cleveland. Photo credit: Utah Office of Tourism.

SALT LAKE CITY – Community foundations in Utah and across the nation have been helping their communities since the first one was founded a century ago in Cleveland. Earlier this month, President Obama recognized the 100th anniversary of the first community foundation.

Fraser Nelson, executive director of the Community Foundation of Utah, said the organizations act as stewards for millions of dollars of endowments that benefit many charities.

“They build assets,” she said. “In other words, they hold endowments and funds that help serve the people and the places, and the causes of a geographic area for good, and forever.”

Nelson said her organization has helped many nonprofits, from the Humane Society to scholarships for children whose parents are incarcerated.

Nelson said the Community Foundation of Utah started about six years ago, making it the nation’s youngest. Despite being the “new kid on the block,” she said, the organization has grown quickly.

“In our short six years, we’ve grown to over $40 million in assets,” she said, “and we have given away in excess of $15 million in those six years.”

Nelson said hers and similar organizations provide funding for programs and services that impact tens of thousands of lives in the communities they serve.

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