Why I’m working with the Future Fund

Most of us will never be philanthropists on the scale of Bill and Melinda Gates. The foundation model – one in which one huge donation gets an endowment together and the interest pays out grants (while the foundation continues to solicit donations to add to the endowment) – is changing, Katherine Fulton explains in her 2007 TED talk.

Enter the Future Fund, an affiliate fund of the Central New York Community Foundation (CNYCF).

One of the things the Community Foundation has done through the years is help people set up personal "funds" – when you see a memorials scholarship fund, or something like that, it starts with a $5,000 check and the CNYCF's 501(c)(3). But who among the young professionals out there – here, in the Syracuse area – is writing a $5,000 check to get something amazing started?

Not many people. So the CNYCF came up with this idea: Let's find 50 young people to donate $100, and that'll be good for a $5,000 grant every year to a local non-profit.

This group of young professionals first nominates a "cause category," such as nutrition or mentoring, then sends out a request for proposals (RFP). A committee narrows the field down to a dozen or so, and then everybody who donated (we call them members) gets to vet the semifinalists, narrowing the field down to three.

Site visits are set up for the three finalists; all members may attend, and then a final vote is held.

For the 2010-2011 grant season, the topic was nutrition, and we awarded Syracuse Grows $5,000 to help them with urban gardening throughout the city.

The Future Fund is an amazing group of people. I'd encourage you to come meet some of them October 13 at the kickoff event at Montage.

Here is the first email of the season, so you can get a feel for what we do.

Greetings, Future Fund Members!

Welcome to the 2011-2012 Future Fund grant-making season. We're extremely proud of what we've done over the past few years and can't wait to get moving on the new year!

Over the past few years, you – our members – have helped make Central New York an amazing place by funding programs that provide, among other things, youth mentoring, financial literacy, workforce development, and, most recently, nutrition and wellness. With that nutrition and wellness grant, we supported Syracuse Grows, which has graciously invited us to their Harvest Dinner, a potluck event, on Sept. 25 from 3:30-5:30pm at the Southwest Community Farm, 100 Bellevue Ave., Syracuse. If you plan to go, RSVP to syracusegrows@gmail.com.

Save the date! Our annual kickoff event is coming up Thursday, October 13 at 5:30pm. This is for members, families, friends, colleagues, and random strangers you think will enjoy a night of free hors d'oeuvres (and a cash bar). Keep an eye on your inbox in the coming weeks for the details.

Worth Watching: TED Fellow Katherine Fulton discusses the future of philanthropy. It's a 12-minute lecture on the changing model of philanthropy – the future will not be the Bill Gateses and George Soroses of the world, it will be people like us. If you come across other interesting stories of philanthropy, send them to us at futurefundcny@gmail.com.

Happy giving!
The Future Fund Steering Committee

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The Future Fund of Central New York
c/o Central New York Community Foundation
431 East Fayette Street
Suite 100
Syracuse, NY 13202
Tel: 315-422-9538
futurefundcny@gmail.com

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16/09/2011

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