Community resource

The Douglas County Community Foundation is a resource more local groups should use.

Lawrence’s Parks and Recreation Department isn’t the only local entity that could be making use of the Douglas County Community Foundation.

City commissioners have approved a plan to set up a fund within the community foundation to accept charitable gifts to support the city’s parks. The parks and recreation department had considered setting up its own private foundation but decided it would be a better idea to affiliate with the community foundation established two years ago with a generous gift from Tensie Oldfather.

The endowment contributed by Oldfather allows the foundation board to allocate money to community projects that apply for funding. But many community groups still aren’t aware of the possibility of establishing their own funds within the foundation. Such funds are managed as part of the foundation’s endowment, but spending from each fund is directed by the group it was established to benefit.

The funds allow organizations in the community to set up a vehicle to accept tax-deductible donations without going to the expense and work of setting up and maintaining their own private foundations. Donors to the community foundation also can designate that their contribution be directed to any fund within the foundation.

The community foundation structure is as much a gift to Douglas County as the money that established the foundation. It allows nonprofit groups to set up funds, just as the parks and recreation department plans to do, to accept larger gifts and bequests. Those funds are managed as part of the foundation’s larger portfolio in a solid structure that will protect the gifts’ intention and management far into the future.

The city’s parks and recreation department is tax-supported, but it also attracts gifts from private citizens. A fund in the community foundation is a perfect vehicle to accept and manage donations, especially large donations, on behalf of the parks. The structure provided by the Douglas County Foundation is a resource more community groups should use to benefit their organizations.