New Albany has many attributes, but one that sets it apart is the generosity of the people who live here.

Their benevolence reflects a community value -- that of neighbors who care about one another.

The New Albany Community Foundation's purpose is to serve donors who want to "give back" and support programs and organizations doing good work in our community.

In 2002, the community foundation held its first "A Remarkable Evening" benefit. That year we raised money for the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, but it became an annual event, always with the purpose to raise funds for community initiatives.

This year's "A Remarkable Evening" reached a milestone by surpassing $25 million in funds raised.

Over the years, those funds have supported any number of community projects, programs and initiatives, primarily in the areas of lifelong learning, health and wellness, the arts and the environment.

The foundation reached other milestones in 2018:

* More than $15 million in assets.

* More than $12 million in grants awarded.

* More than 12,500 New Albany and central Ohio students who have participated in student lectures sponsored by the foundation.

* 68 endowment funds.

The community foundation's board of trustees sought years ago to strike a balance between supporting school programs and local nonprofit groups while also advancing larger projects that affect more residents.

To advance lifelong learning and to provide a platform for community dialogue on timely issues, the foundation established the Jefferson Series, now in its sixth season.

On Oct. 28, the Jefferson Series' "National Security Town Hall" forum from Oct. 25 in New Albany was broadcast on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," reaching more than 25 million viewers. The panel included Stephen Hadley, a former U.S. national-security adviser; Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency; and moderator Fareed Zakaria. This represents another milestone not just for the foundation, but for New Albany.

In a short time, the Jefferson Series has gained a reputation as one of the best lecture series in the country.

To date, 41 prominent thought leaders have visited New Albany. Most of them spent an afternoon with students from New Albany and more than 25 central Ohio schools.

With the student lecture featuring Dr. Sanjay Gupta in September, we surpassed 12,500 students who have attended the lectures.

The foundation donates books authored by the speakers in advance of the lectures so the students are well-prepared for a rich discussion.

I'm confident that New Albany and the foundation will reach many more milestones as the story of this extraordinary community continues to unfold.

We are grateful to all of the donors, sponsors, volunteers and community leaders who contribute their time, talent and treasure so generously to the community.

Keith Berend a senior partner with Joint Implant Surgeons, CEO of White Fence Surgical Suites and chairman of the New Albany Community Foundation board of trustees.