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INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Representatives from private foundations gathered Tuesday, March 19 at the newly launched Foundation Forum hosted by the Indian River Community Foundation.
The session's topic, Children and Youth: The New Face of Homelessness, gave the representatives an opportunity to learn about this little-talked about subject in Indian River County, the nonprofit organizations addressing the need and the opportunities private foundations have to impact the issue.
Four organizations, including representatives from the Indian River County School District, Children's Home Society, Hibiscus Children's Center and United For Families, served on a panel that provided the group with broad statistics about the subject of youth and homelessness in our community, along with specific information about how their organization is addressing the issues.
The Forum concluded with a dynamic discussion between panel and foundation representatives.
The next Foundation Forum is April 9 and will focus on Indian River Lagoon: Concern or Crisis featuring representatives from the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, Indian River Land Trust, Ocean Research and Conservation Association and Harbor Branch.
The Foundation Forum is an informal group interested in learning about community needs, discussing critical issues in charitable giving and becoming acquainted with others who share the philanthropic spirit, said
Paul Becker, a board member of the Indian River Community Foundation and chairman of the Foundation Forum. It is open to any person who is a trustee or board member of a private foundation, which conservative estimates show about 200 such people living at least seasonally in Indian River County.
"Many of these foundations are family foundations, which often have the greatest flexibility to impact an issue through their grant-making programs," Mr. Becker said. "The Foundation Forum is our way of giving these representatives tools to understand Indian River County needs and specific ways they can get involved if they so choose."
The concept of the Foundation Forum was developed in 1996 as the brainchild of Ellie McCabe, Chairman of the The Robert F. and Eleonora W. McCabe Foundation. From 1996 through 2004, Ms. McCabe convened four meetings each season for foundation trustees. Ms. McCabe turned her focus elsewhere in 2005 and the Foundation Forum remained dormant until Becker revived it this year through the Indian River Community Foundation.
Mr. Becker stressed that the Foundation Forum is not a fundraiser, but rather a convening of private foundation trustees around a specific community issue for meaningful discussion.
"It could be that a representative has no interest in giving to the specific issue being discussed, but the conversation will spark ideas that a can be translated to other causes" Ms. Becker said. "The most important result is the opportunity to learn alongside other trustees to further philanthropic knowledge and engagement."
The Indian River Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving Indian River County through donor driven philanthropy. The Foundation currently manages over $18 million in assets restricted for charitable purposes, the majority of which are held in donor advised funds. To attend the Foundation Forum, a person must serve on the board of directors or be employed by a private, grant-making foundation.
For more information about the April 9 Foundation Forum call (772) 492-1407 or email