Longmont Community Foundation celebrates 25 years
March 27, 2019
The Longmont Community Foundation (LCF) will be celebrating 25 years of supporting charitable giving at its annual dinner on April 4. Since 1994, the foundation has overseen the distribution of $11 million to non-profits. This year alone the organization will allocate more than $1 million to the arts, education, animals, human services, health and environmental causes.
There are only 1,900 community foundations world-wide, each honing in on a particular geographic area. LCF was originally under the umbrella of the Denver Community Foundation, but five years ago became an independent organization. LCF's Executive Director for the last 10 years, Eric Hozempa, described its mission as improving life in the St. Vrain Valley "through philanthropy and charitable leadership."
"We're kind of behind the scenes, trying to raise money for the entire community," Hozempa said. Running on a lean platform, Hozempa is the only full-time employee of LCF, and there are two part-time employees onboard as well.
The foundation is focused on giving through several channels - awarding grants to non-profit organizations through the Live and Give Longmont program and the Longmont branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) community action grant. LCF also offers donor-advised fund management to giving funds established by individuals and families, and oversees scholarships awarded to SVVSD students for education beyond high school. In addition, LCF helps local charitable organizations excel by offering training and other resources.
Stewarding the Live and Give Longmont fund will result in LCF distributing nearly $70,000 this year to non-profit programs while the AAUW grant will award $2,500. Both specifically benefit St. Vrain Valley residents.
"It's kind of a savings account for the community, if you will," Hozempa said. "We have volunteers who decide on where those monies go each year after reviewing the grant proposals, of which we get about 100 applications."
Technology has helped with refining LCF's application process, allowing grant applicants to submit video proposals. To watch the videos, visit LCF's YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCqnR9gyNfU1BLLT6idvTEg.
The largest segment in which donations are divvied up is through funds established by individuals and families. "It's like a private foundation without all of the paperwork," Hozempa said of the donor-advised segment of LCF.
Those coffers are directed to non-profit organizations by the fund holders, while the money is pooled with other funds allowing the investments to grow over time. The funds go toward an array of city and county charities, faith-based organizations, and any group that qualifies as being not for profit.
Niwot-founded Left Hand Giving Circle is one of the organizations under this segment of LCF's operations, along with other groups, families or individuals appreciating the advantages that LCF provides.
LCF also serves as the administrator for nine educational scholarships totaling $30,000, mostly targeted at SVVSD high school seniors heading to four or two-year college programs, and vocational and technical schools in the fall. One example is LCF's Ascend Scholarship Fund, which is intended to alleviate the burden of loans that the average low to medium income families take on - around $37,000 per family Hozempa said. Applications for scholarships generally have deadlines early each year and are awarded in May.
Each year, the winners of the Live and Give Longmont grants are announced at LCF's annual dinner. Hozempa said that this year, "In celebration of 25 years in the community, we're also going to start our 25 $1,000 grants for 25 weeks. Each week we'll be drawing an organization's name from those that applied for a grant from us during our Live & Give grants cycle."
LCF's funds support a gamut of causes including offering assistance to athletes and sports organizations in need (Colorado Sports for All), a memorial monument in honor of Gold Star families (NOCO Gold Star Monument Fund), and helping those without dental insurance receive the care they need (Sunshine Club Endowment Fund.)
LCF is helping to shepherd two new initiatives - Sharing the NextLight, a City of Longmont partnered program which will ensure that low-income SVVSD students have connectivity to high-speed internet and the Veteran's Village, a community of 25 tiny homes for veterans projected to break ground this June in south Longmont.
To learn more and to donate to the variety of organizations LCF supports, visit http://www.LongmontFoundation.org or call 303-678-6555. Tickets for LCF's 25th anniversary dinner may still be available at https://longmont.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?event_date_id=1002&edt_id=1003 .