Erie Community Foundation Celebrates 80 Years of Service: Giving You the Business
Erie has proven to be a very generous community. Every year the community shows out for an event called "Erie Gives."
It's a catchy title but the long-time organization behind that powerful day of giving is busy connecting in the community ever day.
The Erie Community Foundation is one of 750 across America.
This acorn is a symbol of what can grow into a mighty oak tree. Just like the growth of a fund, at the Erie Community Foundation.
"We work in partnership with community leaders, programs, and other organizations to ensure that community transformation happens at multiple levels," said Karen Bilowith.
That means the Erie Community Foundation supports non-profits through different programs.
Karen Bilowith is the president and CEO. She has worked with community foundations around the nation, and came to Erie a few years ago.
She's one of 17 full-time employees at a growing foundation.
This West 6th Street location of the Erie Community Foundation is the third location for the foundation. In May, the foundation acquired this home next door where some of the offices are. But in the summer, construction in the back is set to be complete, making the community foundation have a whole campus.
A campus that will continue its close relationship with the Non-Profit Partnership, which oversees 450 member organizations, locally.
"They're not members of the community foundation, but we support all those organizations in different ways, especially through Erie Gives," said Karen.
The yearly, day-long giving effort, where people donate to a charity of their choice.
But all through the year, foundation leaders help set up endowment funds.
"Endowment funds make annual distributions in support of the organization's mission," said Karen. "So, it's unrestricted funding that goes out every year to that organization that helps engage donors in legacy giving."
The foundation has a strong grant-making program, even unveiling new software in the new year to help local organizations as the foundation is celebrated for 80 years of service.
"We just continue to want to be a great partner in the community with our donors, with our stakeholders, and with our nonprofits," Pat Herr.
The Erie Community Foundation also works with regional affiliates: the Union City, North East, Corry, and Findley Lake Community Foundations to help support the needs in those area communities.