Foundation in Focus: Collaborations help build extraordinary community

EVERETT GALLAGHER
Everett Gallagher

Over the years, the New Albany Community Foundation has raised or invested approximately $40 million in the community.

This has been made possible by generous donors, most of whom are families, organizations and businesses in New Albany.

Their impact can be felt every day, through programs and initiatives that touch residents.

The foundation's mission is to help build an extraordinary community. This is accomplished through collaborations that generate resources for transformational investments in lifelong learning, health and wellness, arts and culture and the environment.

The foundation's purpose is to:

* Guide a philanthropic spirit in the community.

* Pursue strategic grant-making that benefits the community's citizens, employees and students and that is consistent with the intent of our donors.

* Provide flexible and cost-effective ways for civic-minded individuals, families and companies to contribute to their community -- now and in perpetuity.

* Serve as good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.

* Do all of this in a manner that brings people together and strengthens community bonds.

This year is the foundation's 25th in existence, and although we had big plans to celebrate that milestone, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and ensuing recession compelled us to sharpen our focus.

Like so many other organizations and businesses, the foundation trimmed its budget, and we focused fundraising and grant-making on COVID-19 assistance.

Donors responded, allowing the foundation to award more than $150,000 in grants to organizations providing COVID-19 assistance and to the New Albany-Plain Local School District as it prepared to reopen. We wanted to help the district reopen as safely as possible for the students, teachers, staff members and everyone who frequents the school campus.

As we chart a course for the next 25 years, the foundation will continue to support community organizations and initiatives that enrich lives.

We remain optimistic about New Albany's future.

The Jefferson Series lectures will continue to address such timely issues as mental health, civil discourse and national security, but we'll also facilitate other important community conversations, such as social justice.

Construction on the new community amphitheater has begun.

The beautiful new venue will serve a number of community and school groups, providing residents with another gathering place to enjoy arts, education and to celebrate community.

The amphitheater is the latest in an impressive list of community projects championed by the foundation, including the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, Safety Town, parks and the restoration of historic buildings, as well as such programs as the lecture series, student lecture series, a schools author-residency program and many more.

As we celebrate 25 years of impact, we thank the many donors who care about their neighbors and generously invest in their community – and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with others to build this extraordinary community.

Everett Gallagher is vice chair of the New Albany Community Foundation board of trustees.