Tag Archives: CFGA

Frederick Goff Vision

Frederick Goff: The Vision for a Community Foundation
Over 100 years ago, Frederick Goff, acting as the President of the fast-growing Cleveland Trust, set up the Cleveland Foundation. It was the first community foundation in the U.S., established in 1914. Indianapolis followed in 1916, Chicago in 1919, and New York in 1920. By 1931 – 74 communities had established community foundations.
What made such a rapid expansion possible? The answer lies in the powerful vision of Frederick Goff. It was Goff that saw the need for an institution that addressed two great societal forces: the urge of donors to give, and the unmet needs of fast-growing communities.
Day after day, as a banker, Goff worked to serve his high net worth clients with ways to maximize their impact as philanthropists.
Day after day, as a civic leader, Goff also saw unmet needs in his community, Cleveland. These needs were met neither by the marketplace nor by government. Examples were everywhere: churches, colleges, hospitals, and homeless shelter were just the beginning of a long list of more-than-worthy causes with unmet needs.
Out of this work, as a banker and as a civic leader, Off formed a compelling vision: His vision was to create a “permanent enduring institution”, a “community chest”, which could match the needs of donors to the needs of the community. The community trust (now called a community foundation) was perfectly suited to serve in this way.
His vision was a way for community needs to be met, as well as a way to facilitate donor giving.
In a sense, Goff fused philanthropy after death to living philanthropy. Where others saw estate planning and living philanthropy as two separate issues, Goff saw them as seamlessly connected, through a “permanently enduring organization” – a community trust.

While some wealthy people, along with their estate planners, toiled to describe in excruciating detail how fortunes were to be used in the future to advance community well-being, Goff asked a much simpler question: can a donor give his or her wealth to a permanently enduring organization that the donor trusts?
He conceived of this “permanently enduring organization” – this “community trust” – as a way to enable both a “living trust” and decision-making about the use of funds when the donor was no longer able to make those decisions.
Goff expressed his vision beautifully in Colliers magazine:

“How fine it would be if a man about to make a will could go to a permanently enduring organization –  what Chief Justice Marshall called an ‘artificial immortal being’ – and say: ‘Here is a large sum of money. I want to leave it to be used for the good of the community, but I have no way of knowing what will be the greatest need of the community 50 years from now, or even 10 years from now. Therefore, I place it in your hands, because you will be here, you and your successors, through the years, to determine what should be done with this sum to make it most useful for people of each succeeding generation.’”

The early visionaries called them “community trusts”. Now called “community foundations”, they were a product of people, places, and policy innovations.
Goff foresaw an institution that could be capable of great stewardship, that could respect the wishes of donors, deceased and alive. For the deceased, the institution would need to be capable of carefully respecting donor wishes as detailed in wills and other expressions of intent. And for the living, he also saw – in that same institution – a capacity to listen to donors, to earn their trust, and abide by their wishes for their hard-earned money.
Goff envisioned a living and breathing organization, in touch with present-day needs of the community. This would be not simply an institution that was administering the wishes of people who had long since died. It would be an organization with the capacity to hold a “trust’, or an endowment, for the “community”. Indeed, in the early days these organizations were called “community trusts”.
The Mayor of Cleveland strongly backed Goff with this assertion about the value of a “community trust”:

“…The Community Trust is an endeavor to substitute contemporary wisdom for foresight; and that is particularly important when we reflect that we are living in a world which has changed more rapidly and in more of its fundamental conceptions within the past dozen years that it has ever done before in as many centuries.”
Newton D. Baker, Mayor of Cleveland, and former Secretary of War

Drew Elementary School and Edison

I visited the Drew Charter School on April 1, 2016, in the inspiring East Lake Community of Atlanta. East Lake has been wildly successful. The community itself has been a complete transformation, but – almost as importantly – its success has anchored the exciting turnarounds underway in surrounding Kirkwood, and Oakhurst in Decatur. The entire area south of Decatur and north of I-20 is booming – in large part thanks to East Lake and Tom and Anne Cousins.

It was a very proud moment for me – since Edison was elected as the operator of the school in the early year (I was Edison’s first Chief Operating Officer). The Edison model, to grow the school a grade at a time, is now almost fully realized at Drew: they have 11 grades and will open a twelfth grade next year!

And what a grand success it has been. Almost everyone involved credits the success of the school as being an essential component of Tom Cousin’s East Lake experiment. Of course Mr Cousins and his wife Anne, as well as Lillian and Greg Giornelli, deserve massive credit for their incredible multi-year commitment to this project. It was their commitment that made it all possible, including Drew.

Drew opened with a $17.5 million facility. What I saw was an even greater commitment – the junior/senior high school!

And a bit of history below:

Note this article from the ATL Business Chronicle was written in September, 1999. I joined The Edison Project as the Chief Operating Officer in January, 1996, and left Edison in September, 1999 – just as Drew was opening!

I took Edison through the first four operating years. The contracting and planning and budgeting was under my watch, but I never stayed to see it open (sadly).

So Drew was a fifth year Edison School (first year, 1995-1996, we had 4 schools; second year, 1996-1997, 12; third year, 1997-1998, 25; fourth, 1998-1999 51; fifth, 1999-2000 77. Note that Drew opened in temporary facilities for the 1999-2000 school year.

Note Shirley Franklin was Chair of the Charter School at the time.

ATL Business Chronicle Article

Sep 6, 1999, 12:00am EDT Updated Sep 6, 1999, 12:00am

The Charles R. Drew Charter School has grabbed the attention of members of the East Lake community. Organizers hope it can keep that attention once it is open.

“If you look across the country in inner cities … people are very excited about public education,” said Shirley Franklin, chair of the East Lake Academy Charter School Board. “There’s a renewed interest in remodeling how public education operates.”

The state board of education unanimously approved the new charter school in August.

But work on the school is far from complete.

The school is slated to open next August in temporary quarters, first serving kindergarten through fifth-graders.

The former Drew Elementary School, which was closed a few years ago due to low enrollment, will be rebuilt. It is scheduled to open in its permanent location in August 2001.

The school will add one grade level per year, up to eighth grade in 2003.

The school likely will have an enrollment of about 850 in the $17.5 million facility.

Meeting multiple needs
A child development center serving community children up to the age of four is slated to be a part of the Drew Charter School. The charter school also will have an attached YMCA.

The YMCA “was something we’d been working [on] with Atlanta Public Schools and the YMCA since Day One. All three parties [see] the YMCA as a critical part of the redevelopment of the East Lake community,” said Greg Giornelli, executive director of the nonprofit East Lake Community Foundation, an effort driven by Atlanta developer Tom Cousins.

There are some immediate tasks to tackle in order to keep those redevelopment efforts on track.

The real estate closing on the Drew Elementary School property will take place in a few weeks, Giornelli said.
Topping the priority list for the charter school’s board meeting in September is discussion of a temporary site for the school and the status of the contract with The Edison Project, the nation’s largest education-management company, which will run the school for the charter foundation.

Rebuilding a community
The Drew School is just one example of the rebirth in East Lake and East Atlanta.

Cousins has been at work through his foundation, along with partners such as the Atlanta Housing Authority, to build a mixed-income housing development — the Villages of East Lake.

Besides being managed by The Edison Project and having its charter school board, the Drew School will be different in that there will be site-based decision-making, Giornelli said. There also will be an extended school day and year.
But to eradicate any misperceptions about the charter school’s identity — such as that it is some sort of private school — Giornelli stresses the partnership with Atlanta Public Schools.

“It never can be anything but an Atlanta public school. It is a unique school,” he said. “I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this is a public school, and it’s very much a partnership effort. We are 100 percent accountable to the Atlanta Board of Education.”

The Atlanta Board of Education will pay $6,070 per student for the school’s first year. The expenditure will cover most of the school’s operating costs, except for transportation services and nutrition programs.

Drawing in residents
Atlanta school board member Mike Holiman, who represents District 3, which includes East Lake, hopes Drew’s set-up leads parents to become partners in the school’s success.
“I’ve seen it over and over again — when parents come in, elbow their way through the halls and take over, so to speak, things start happening,” Holiman said.
He said that he believes parents will be involved.
“I was at the initial public meeting when we started talking about the charter [last fall], and I think there were 70 or 80 people there at that first meeting,” he said.
“I can tell you, they are very interested in Drew being something special,” he added.

Developing a curriculum
The Edison Project was hired to initiate the education program, along with technology and management systems at the Drew School.

The Drew School’s curriculum will have an intensive focus on reading and math, with 90 minutes of language arts daily and 60 minutes of math instruction daily.

Franklin of the East Lake Academy Charter School Board gives high marks to the Edison-managed schools she has visited.

“I was impressed with all the people involved — the student body, parents, faculty — their focus on student performance,” Franklin said.

Edison manages schools in a number of places, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and Washington, D.C.

By this fall, there will be 77 schools under its management.

Changing the school calendar
Under current plans, the school day at the new Drew School will be one to two hours longer than it is at other public schools.

The first school year will be 185 days. There will be a minimum of 200 days in each subsequent school year.
With initiatives such as quarterly meetings between teachers and parents, a Parent Advisory Committee and a mentoring program, parental involvement will be heavily stressed.

Parental involvement
That won’t be a problem if parents voice the same enthusiasm for the school as Pamela Davis, who has lived in East Lake for 12 years and is a charter school board member.
Although her children, who are ages 10, 11, and 12, won’t be attending the school, Davis still is confident about Drew’s effects.

“The grades are supposed to improve,” Davis said. “The charter school is supposed to be … one-on-one.”
Davis isn’t nervous about the many eyes that will be focused on the charter school’s performance.

With the community undergoing a number of recent changes, East Lake has encountered scrutiny before. “We overcame that,” she said.

Of the school and community’s success, she added: “It only works if you make it work.”

Donor-Advised Funds – MI

This reports on growth of donor-advised funds, now a $53 billion sub-sector of a philanthropy sector of $325 billion, as written by Howard Husock, Vice President, Manhattan Institute:

Latest from Manhattan Institute on Donor-Advised Funds

Husock is clearly expressing in vivid terms the virtues of NDAF’s – national donor-advised funds such as those provided by Schwab and Fidelity. He shows data that NDAF accounts (not funds) have expanded by 10,000,000+ since Congress ratified DAF’s in 2006. His argument is that these funds “democratize” philanthropy – making family-foundation-like systems and support available to a much broader base. He points out that their minimum fund requirements are much smaller than Community Foundations (sometimes they require as little as $5,000 to establish a NDAF account.)

Opposing 2014 Tax Code Revisions
In this report, he opposes the 2104 proposed change to the tax code, made the Congressman Camp, wherein all Donor-Advised Funds would be required to spend invested assets within five years. He cites arguments advanced for this change by a Boston College Professor of Law.

His argument is that DAF growth, perhaps from $53 billion to $100 billion+ by 2020, will be one of the reasons that philanthropy in the US, currently just below 2% of GDP (which is far ahead of other countries) could actually exceed 2%.

He has a special interest in NDAF’s. He actually is using data provided by them for the report:

“This paper uses data provided by Fidelity, Vanguard, and Schwab to compare giving patterns for donors in NDAF-based DAFs with those of community foundations (including from the latter’s general funds and DAF accounts).

The end of the report is optimistic:

“DAFs housed in NDAFs and major community foundations could signal a new era in U.S. mass philanthropy (one rivaling, say, the Community Chest / United Way movement of the 1920s). The potential thus exists for a large group of relatively small donors to make a big positive difference in the magnitude of what is already the world’s largest charitable giving sector.”