Last Modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 1:28 PM
John Guidroz / American Press firstname.lastname@example.org
The head of the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana told Calcasieu Kiwanis Club members on Thursday about how they manage money donated by residents and organizations and connect those donors with organizations that can use the funding for projects that interest them.
Sara Judson, the foundation’s president and CEO, said donors create a fund at the foundation, and the foundation manages and invests that fund. The donor can choose where they want the money to go, or the foundation connects the donor with an organization that shares their interests.
“Basically, it’s like a savings account for doing good,” she said. “We try to make it as easy as possible.”
Formed in the early 2000s under the United Way of Southwest Louisiana, Judson said the foundation went out on its own several years later. There are seven community foundations within the state, and the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana is affiliated with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
The foundation in May donated a $75,000 grant to the National Museum and Science Center to pay for education. Judson said the money came through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Future of the Gulf fund, which was started with money associated with the 2010 BP oil spill.
The Southwest Louisiana foundation has helped manage an athletic and educational fund organized by LaGrange High School alumni. Judson said about $20,000 was raised for the fund to pay for athletic equipment and support for extra curricular activities.
“It was a group of people that had a passion and similar interests,” she said. “The foundation gives them the vehicle to do that, so that people can make a tax deductible contribution and know that it is managed and going where it’s intended to go.”
Another effort the foundation helped make a reality involved Maci Fontenot, who was 4 when she learned she had cancer. She decided to give back with MaciFest, a festival where people can give donations for a certain organization.
Judson said the donations go into the “Make a Difference” fund managed by the foundation. The money raised at this year’s festival went to the American Red Cross, the organization of choice for Fontenot, now 10 and cancer-free.
Officials with the city of Lake Charles created funds for Millennium Park and 1st Lt. Douglas Fournet Memorial so people can donate to those specific projects. The funds are managed by the foundation.
For more information on the foundation, call 491-6688.