Carmen Cumberland of Community Harvest Food Bank almost couldn't believe the organization was one of the winners of Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne's #GivingTuesdayFW Challenge.
“No way! No way! Are you serious?” Cumberland said excitedly before Community Foundation representatives assured her they were serious. “Give me a high-five!”
Cumberland said the $5,000 check will cover about 20,000 meals. Videos of Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne surprising four local nonprofit organizations with $5,000 checks were uploaded to the organization's Facebook page Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is the national philanthropic holiday that follows the shopping holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“Every year, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne challenges all nonprofits with endowment funds at the Community Foundation to participate in the #GivingTuesdayFW Challenge,” a news release stated. “The Community Foundation asks the community for gifts to the nonprofit endowments to help them be sustainable for years to come.”
The recipients are the nonprofits that raised the most money in each of the foundations for areas of giving: Cinema Center, arts and culture; Community Harvest, health and human services; Fort Wayne Astronomical Society, community development; and Fort Wayne Center for Learning, education.
The funds are not restricted and can be used however each organization sees fit. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne raised $19,700 through the campaign.
Alison Gerardot, vice president of philanthropic services and women's fund coordinator, said in the news release that sustainability through an endowment is more important than ever for nonprofits because of instability in government grants, the transfer of generational wealth and changing tax laws.
“As we continue to recover from the pandemic, it's the generosity of our community that will help nonprofits to grow and thrive,” she said. “We continue to be inspired by philanthropy in our community, on Giving Tuesday and beyond.”
The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has been a public charitable foundation serving Allen County since 1922. It awarded about $8 million in charitable grants in 2020.
As he expressed his gratitude Tuesday, Art Herbig of Cinema Center said he appreciates the foundation's help – even aside from funding.
“We went through a rough patch a couple of years ago, and you guys really stood by us and helped us,” he said. “We got a lot of really wonderful input from you guys.”