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Community Foundation Newsletter
Around Texas

July, 2009

What if...everyone knew how to make a difference?
The Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation e-Newsletter
July 2009

In this issue:

1. The Economic Climate and the Nonprofit Sector: Revisiting
2. How Many Nonprofits Do We Really Have?
3. Unprecedented Levels of Grantmaking by your community foundation!
Backpack Buddy Program: Update
5. Workplace Giving
6. Future Trails 2009: Save November 5 for us!


1. The Economic Climate and the Nonprofit Sector

A recent study highlighted the impact of the economic crisis on nonprofit organizations. Not surprisingly, it hasn't been a good year for nonprofits, either. But as each sector has its own timbre and tone, each sector also responds to external changes in different ways. We are beginning to see clear evidence of the stress of the economic situation on our nonprofits and, as in past cycles, we expect that it the summer will be a very decisive time for some npo's. The summer is the quietest season, in terms of contributed revenue, for many nonprofits and it is why we encourage you to check in with your favorite nonprofit in these summer months if you want to do something meaningful to make a difference.

The study, done by the Listening Post Project, an effort of Johns Hopkins University's Center for Civil Society Studies, reports on the effect of the current recession on our country's critical nonprofit sector. Key findings include:

* 80% of all organizations are experiencing some kind of fiscal stress.

* Close to 40% of these organizations reported that the nature of the stress was 'severe' or 'very severe'.

* Theaters and orchestras are among the hardest hit, but, surprisingly...

1/3 or more of organizations serving children and youth, or seniors, ALSO reported 'severe' or 'very severe' fiscal stress.

In the main, however, nonprofits are more optimistic about their work than other sectors, which seems partially related to nonprofits' ability to respond quickly to external changes, as well as to their experience in recent years with cycles that adversely impacted philanthropy (1999, 2001).

Please read the summary, or the entire study, at

2. How Many Nonprofits Do We Really Have? (and is that the right number?)

A recent article came to our attention and we wanted to share the idea with you. We often hear that there are too many nonprofits, or that there is somehow duplication or overlap in services that nonprofits provide. Part of our work is to be an objective convener around community issues, so in order to answer the question: How many nonprofits do we have in Williamson County, we started counting.

The answer is that there are fewer than 100 community-based organizations serving this county (our total count is closer to 75). This includes 501c3 nonprofit organizations that are based, and that serve, here. It does not include national organizations that do not have an office here--but it does include national organizations that do have offices in Williamson County. And this doesn't include civic groups that are not true public charities, but rather, service providing public charities.

Many of these organizations are our grantee organizations; we have made grants to more than 70% of our county's nonprofit organizations. As a result of our diligence to make sure that we can stand behind the work they do with confidence,  we know them, and their work, well. In addition, we host a county-wide listserv for our nonprofit organizations to exchange information and ideas. (anyone can join through our website,

As you seek to know what is happening with Williamson County nonprofits, we hope you will contact us. We are happy to share our frequently-updated list of nonprofit organizations serving our county; just email us and we'll happily send it to you! It's our honor to help you become closer to organizations that do such important and vital work to make our area a better place. 

3. Unprecedented Levels of Grantmaking!

In the first half of 2009, our donor-advised and discretionary grantmaking exceeded $150,000. We anticipate that our grantmaking for the year will exceed $300,000. This is an unprecedented amount of grantmaking activity for your community foundation, and we are honored to support many important causes that improve the quality of life for so many residents of our county.

4. Backpack Buddy Program: Update

The Backpack Program is a partnership with the Georgetown Ministerial Alliance, and we launched a pilot program in late spring. The Backpack Program is designed to meet the needs of chronically hungry children on the weekends, because there are children among us that rely on important federal programs such as free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch during the school year.

We hope to expand the program throughout Georgetown and Leander in the upcoming academic year. If you want to help, please let us know! The scores of you who have reached out to us to ask out what you can do--this is the time for you to let us know that you're ready to participate in this important program.

In addition, we will also be working on the School Supply Fund again this summer. Last year, we were able to provide school supplies to each Georgetown elementary and middle school, as well as Jarrell and Liberty Hill schools. In an economic climate like this, a School Supply Fund gets supplies to children that need them efficiently, discreetly, and quickly.

5. Workplace Giving

When employees want to give collectively and collaboratively to make a difference and help their community grow stronger, they can give together in order to have significant impact. Our workplace giving program empowers and inspires your employees by establishing a pooled giving fund that stays 100% local and is given to organizations or causes they choose. Employees can choose any number of nonprofits or fields of interest for their giving. We are happy to counsel employees or employers to help them identify the right organization or field of interest for them. Let us know if you'd like to learn more!

6. Future Trails 2009: Save November 5 for us!

On November 5, 2009, we will welcome Dick Rathgeber for our third Future Trails event, to celebrate how giving makes a place better for everyone. Dick Rathgeber has applied principles of entrepreneurship, honed over fifty years in business, to numerous good causes. Mr. Rathgeber has figured out how to give to charity with the big guys, and he believes others can do the same. "The trick is to take whatever your talents are and use them for charity," he says. We hope you will save the date for this important event!

and...KEEP TUNED for upcoming details on our new giving circle for women, called Seeds of Strength, as well as the progress of our next civic leadership initiative, the Aging Initiative!

p.s.: One of our funds, the Georgetown Fire Department Pipes + Drums corps, has a nifty website that has updates on where they are playing (including on the square in Georgetown on July 17th!). You may wish to check it out!

In closing...

Please contact us with questions, by phone at 512.863.2484, 512.536.0196 if we're away from the office, or email Thank you!


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