Bourbon County is fortunate to have one of only three community foundations in Southeast Kansas; the other two are in Crawford County. In 2007, a number of citizens of our county had the foresight to establish The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation (“FSACF”) in order to encourage long-term investments in our area. Since then, the organization has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to schools, governments and charities all across Bourbon County, thanks to the vision of a number of donors.
What is a community foundation? The purpose is to create legacy investments in a city, county or region by accumulating donations, investing those dollars, and awarding grants based on the return on the investments. While donations of all sizes are accepted and appreciated, the FSACF also provides a path for individuals who have accumulated assets over a lifetime of hard work to make a planned gift that will benefit the community they love long after they are gone.
You might ask, “Why accumulate these dollars; why not donate the money as it comes in?” The answer is ongoing growth and building a legacy that continues well into the future. Some donors choose to have the principal preserved, and then direct how the annual interest that is earned will be used. Those donations allow the FSACF to support our community for many years to come; it is designed for the long-term.
During the annual grant process, the FSACF provides funds to help multiple community organizations meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Truly, some of those grants are working to change lives every single day in Bourbon County.
In addition to those grants, perhaps one of the most important roles of the FSACF is collaboration. We are more effective when governments, charities, businesses and individuals work together to solve problems and fill needs. FSACF looks to create partnerships that pull all these elements together into a program that can address significant quality of life issues such as housing and parks.
I am so glad that many organizers and donors of every stripe loved our community enough to make the investment of their time, talent and treasure on a volunteer basis to FSACF. This type of collaborative effort is impressive; it gives credibility to our community and helps put us on the economic development map.