Community Enrichment is Foundation’s Multi-pronged Goal

by Howard Chapman


We live in an age of acronyms.

No day goes by without some discussion about the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), PBS (Public Broadcasting System), FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

And some people have become as well known by their initials as by their names, such as FDR, JFK and MLK.

But if you live in northeast Indiana, there’s an acronym for an organization that has probably affected you in some way, and yet you don’t recognize it: CFGFW. That stands for the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.

This year, CFGFW is celebrating its 100th birthday.

Here is a short version of what it does: The foundation receives donations from private citizens, other foundations and other charitable sources; it stewards these funds by investing them prudently; and it uses its income to help people.

Do you have medical needs? Enjoy music or the theater? Know someone who receives a scholarship? Go to church? Visit museums? Receive food or housing assistance? Participate in civic activities? CFGFW provides nancial support in all of these areas, and this is just the beginning of what could be a very long list.

At the end of 2021, the Community Foundation was administering an endowment of more than $220 million. That’s a lot of money, and it provides the foundation the ability to do a lot of good in a lot of different ways.

Here’s an example: The city has ve sister cities. To look after these, it has a sister city program that is operated primarily by FWSCII (sorry, another acronym, this one for Fort Wayne Sister Cities International, Inc.).

FWSCII is responsible for funding and administering student exchanges between students in Fort Wayne (who travel to our sister cities) and students who visit Fort Wayne from our sister cities. FWSCII is also instrumental in coordinating visits with ofcial delegations, some from Fort Wayne to our sister cities, and sometimes when delegations visit us.

There is a considerable amount of money needed to keep this going; however, FWSCII is governed by a volunteer board of local citizens, and the care of its investments would be burdensome.

Enter the Community Foundation, which has established designated funds to receive donations from the public, and then pools those funds with others to achieve both safety and a good return on investment.

When FWSCII has expenses to meet, CFGFW is there to provide the means.The designated fundsCFGFW uses to assist FWSCII are only one example.

At the end of 2021, the Community Foundation had more than 520 funds established within its framework to support and benet myriad charitable causes and endeavors. During 2021, it made grants in excess of $8 million to a large number of qualied nonprot organizations.

On the website ofCFGFW is a quotation attributed to Andrew Carnegie. He said, “Riches are essentially a trust which came from the community and which should return to benet the source from whence they came.” After 100 years, our Community Foundation is honoring that ideal.


Howard Chapman is a Fort Wayne resident.