Clotilde Dedecker And Betsy Constantine.

Clotilde Dedecker is President and CEO of Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.  She explained that a community foundation is one that oversees the finances and grants of other foundations.  This foundation is responsible for over 800 individual funds totalling over $180 million in assets.

The Community foundation was formed in 1919, and is one of the ten oldest foundations in the world.  It is accredited by the Betty Ford Foundation, which grants accreditation only to those foundations who meet the high standards set by that accreditation board; a highly sought after goal.

Clotilde said that 75% of the money distributed from this foundation remains within the eight WNY counties.  They connect people who want to give grants with those whom they wish to receive them.  For these donors the upside is active granting during their lifetime, and preservation of their legacy after death.  The donors can actively advise where they wish their grants to go.  The foundation is perfect for those who wish to give back to the community, but don't want to manage the fund.

In the community, some of the goals of the foundation are to increase economic self sufficiency for those in need through education; reduce racial and ethnic disparity; utilize area rescources such as our historic architecture; and stregnthen the region's arts & cultural organizations.

The foundation's recipe for good leadership includes identifying issues ripe for attention; convene all those involved; develop a shared vision; develop and implement an action plan; leverage new funding opportunities.  They have consistently out performed their benchmarks to assist in making sure they are making the most of donors' generocity.  To do this they always honor donor intent in perpetuity; offer cost effective partnerships; have a proven investment performance; and possess and utilize deep local knowledge.

                                                                                      By Jim Pawlicki