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Donor Stories

Paving the Way by Example

Mike and Patty Lowe share why they chose to invest a portion of their donor advised fund in the Community Foundation’s Catalyst Endowment:

"As we learned more about the Community Foundation's Catalyst Endowment Fund that engages eight broad Quality of Life concerns in our community, we decided to transfer 15% of our donor advised fund to the Catalyst Endowment as our philanthropic vision matures and expands beyond simple charity and tax considerations. Our plan is to transfer an increasing percentage of our donor advised fund annually to the Catalyst Endowment.

Through our many years of active involvement in Community Development in the 35805 area of Huntsville, we experienced the need for and the power of community collaboration. Working with the under resourced in holistic ways for sustainable positive change requires engagement in interrelated complex issues that are too overwhelming for any single organization or funder to resolve alone.

Thus, we chose to give to the Community Foundation’s Catalyst Endowment for the greatest collective impact for initiatives that address root causes of barriers to enhanced Quality of Life for all in our community.

Another aspect inspiring our desire to help grow the Catalyst Endowment Fund is our personal interest in the new Summer Adventures In Learning (SAIL) Program, the Catalyst Fund's first collective impact project with goals to overcome student summer learning losses.

As a master teacher in the Huntsville City School System, Patty was intimately aware of the regression of student learning retention occurring during summers and holiday vacations. We enthusiastically support SAIL’s provision for our community’s lesser-resourced students with fun integrated academics that will yield learning gains, expanded experiential opportunities, and a continuum of readiness for each new school year.

To fund the pilot SAIL Program, the Community Foundation partnered with eleven other individual and organizational donors and leveraged a $15K seed grant to over $100K demonstrating collective impact. The Community Foundation together with the Schools Foundation is providing the backbone leadership and management of the pilot programs in three schools during summer 2017, one each from the Huntsville, Madison and Madison County School Systems.

Understanding the power of collective impact initiatives, and knowing the Community Foundation’s ability to provide solid management of grant distribution with measurable outcome accountability, we are confident of positive results and enthusiastically support the Community Foundation’s Catalyst Endowment initiatives.The transition of funds from our donor advised fund to the Catalyst Endowment was the same simple process donor advised fund owners use to initiate giving by using the on-line grant request form. We invite all donor advised fundholders to join us in regularly transferring a portion of their donor advised fund to help grow the Catalyst Endowment. The Community Foundation’s goal is to collectively grow the Catalyst Fund to a milestone of $10M in the near term. This would allow annual grants of up to $500,000 for collaborative actions that address the many Huntsville/Madison County quality of life issues. Collectively our endowed philanthropy allows all of us to be a part of solutions to issues bigger than any of us could solve individually."

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MAILING P.O. Box 332 | Huntsville, Alabama 35804 • LOCATION 225 Church Street | Huntsville, Alabama 35801
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