During the week of November 12-18, 2012, the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation will join more than 700 community foundations across America for Community Foundation Week to tell the stories of lives changed, jobs created, and communities transformed through philanthropy’s partnership with private and public community leaders and organizations.

“The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation works every day to help address the most pressing issues facing our community, by supporting nonprofits, government and citizens to build capacity around a variety of issues including economic development, poverty, youth, communications, sense of place, performing arts, and healthy community. Community foundations impact lives, solve problems, and improve futures,” said Tracy Timmons, Executive Director. “In a down economy, with limited resources and a growing need for services to help families in need, we are more determined than ever to bring our community partners together to find innovative and effective solutions to some of our most challenging social problems.Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits that are the heart of strong, vibrant communities.”

Jessica Briggs reports, “My AmeriCorps* VISTA position in Red Lodge was made possible by local philanthropy. It has allowed me to create and maintain the Carbon County Resource Directory, a resource for the entire county.  Philanthropy has also supported my technology capacity building efforts at the Nonprofit Shared Services Center and at other local nonprofits such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Kids Corner.”

Marti Lauf, Foundation Nonprofit Resource liaison points out, “It is thanks to local philanthropy that the foundation is able to provide our local nonprofits with many needed resources.  We share software programs like QuickBooks for Nonprofits, an accounting program and GiftWorks, a donor database program.  Additionally, we are able to provide training and guidance for both. We have several donated assets that are available like easels, cash drawers, portable trash bins, race signs, and even a bulk mail stamp.  Sharing assets means that our area nonprofits have lower expenses and are able to utilize their funding more efficiently for their programs.  Without philanthropy these resources would not be possible.”

Rue Freeman, Youth Volunteer Program Director at the Foundation, believes that philanthropy affects all of us in many ways. “Giving looks different to each person, some give time and some give money; some are even able to do both. The thoughtful donations of local philanthropists allow me to organize, develop and coordinate the Future of Montana: Volunteer Corps project, a youth driven volunteer program that connects students to local nonprofits. Philanthropy pays for the salaries, supplies and tools necessary to connect youth to the many community opportunities.”

Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. Every state in the United States is home to at least one community foundation—large and small, urban and rural—that is advancing solutions to a wide range of social issues. The 2011 Columbus Survey found that despite the recession, giving by the nation’s 100 largest community foundations actually increased slightly in 2010 to $3.7 billion and exceeded prerecession levels seen in 2006 and 2007.

Launched in 1989 through a proclamation by former president George H.W. Bush, the first Community Foundation Week included a congressional briefing about the work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address community problems.