As the dreary economic news continues, the needs in our communities become ever more obvious. Friends and neighbors struggle to make ends meet. Local businesses face tough financial decisions. Our charitable organizations scramble to serve more people on fewer dollars.

Does it ever seem overwhelming to you? Sure, billionaires have the means to make a substantial difference with a single charitable gift. But what about the rest of us?

Thankfully, it doesn’t take great wealth to make a great difference. On November 12-18, Cleburne County Community Foundation, an affiliate office of the Arkansas Community Foundation will join with almost 750 Community Foundations across the United States to recognize Community Foundation Week, a celebration of the extraordinary impact ordinary people can make in their communities through philanthropy.

Right here in Cleburne County, many individuals and families have made gifts to our local Community Foundation that will be invested to provide a permanent source of funding for the charitable causes that make up the fabric of our community. Each year local non-profits can apply for a grant during our “Giving Tree” grant cycle which runs from Jan 10- Feb 15th each year. One of our “Giving Tree” grant recipients this past year was Breakin’ Bread. Breakin’ Bread serves hot meals on weekends to those in need. They needed a walk-in freezer due to the increased number of individuals that they served post COVID. We were able to provide them with a grant to apply towards this freezer. This directly impacted the amount of food that they could store, reduced the number of ice chest being used, which also lowered utilities according to Bruce Shearer, director of Breakin’ Bread.

The beauty of the Cleburne County Community Foundation, and all Community Foundations, is that virtually no one is excluded from contributing to a community’s betterment. You don’t have to be Bill Gates to give a gift to your community that will make a positive change in the lives of local people.

Through the Cleburne County Community Foundation you can become a part of a family of philanthropists working together to make our state a better place. By establishing a charitable endowment, you can provide a permanent source of funding for the causes you care about, and you can partner with others who share your interests to learn about emerging needs and provide the resources to make creative solutions possible.

Together, we can build a bright future for our community through the power of giving. You can put your resources to work for Cleburne County through the Cleburne County Community Foundation. Now’s the time to begin your philanthropic legacy.

Vowels is Executive Director of the Cleburne County Community Foundation.

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