David Erickson thinks there is something inherently valuable about community foundations—and it has nothing to do with money. “The work of Galesburg Community Foundation is not just about money. It is about helping local nonprofits become better organized and more efficient in how they operate,” said David, who serves as vice chairperson of the Board of Directors.
“Not only do we support nonprofits in our region through our grantmaking, but we also work with them to build their organizational capacity. We are able to do so much in partnership with nonprofits because of the generosity of people in our communities.”
David and his wife Nancy have seen the value of partnerships and generosity come to life over the years, as they have been involved with Galesburg Community Foundation from the very beginning. David served on the Cottage Hospital Board of Directors when the hospital was sold and the Community Foundation was initially established. What has blossomed today, he said, is greater than he ever would have expected. “They had a much more narrow view and were more focused on health care,” he said. “Today, the Community Foundation is focused on a healthy community—which has so many facets.”
Nancy, who served on the Community Foundation’s board in the early years of the Community Foundation’s formation and continues to serve on the Community Foundation’s farm committee agreed. “I was on the board when we defined what a healthy community was, and to me it is a place where people want to move to, where they want to raise their family and participate in activities,” she said. “You need to have a good educational system, an active arts community, and nice places such as parks and playgrounds for family activities. Endowment funds at the Community Foundation are a way to ensure the region is healthy today, and always. They are also a way to be purposeful in your giving.”
David and Nancy, who live near Altona, noted that the Community Foundation also provides a noticeable way for the broader region to understand the impact philanthropy has on positively changing communities forever. Nancy said, “This organization gives an opportunity for more people to see what actions can happen when they give. That visibility has really increased over the past 15 years.”
In addition to their gift of time, the Erickson’s give back to the community through a donor advised fund they started at the Community Foundation, which is one of the best ways to give to the areas that interest donors like David and Nancy the most. They give regularly to nonprofits, but also to major projects or emergency needs when they come up. The Community Foundation makes it simple, Nancy said. “We write one check to our Donor Advised Fund and then the Community Foundation ensures the nonprofits we select receive our gifts,” she said. “It’s, frankly, just wonderful.”
David added, “People can get overwhelmed by the thought of doing something significant and so they never get it done,” David added. “The Community Foundation is a great way to get expertise and gain knowledge about your options, and make a plan so you can achieve your charitable goals and be purposeful in your giving.”