About five years ago the couple opened a fund at The Community Foundation to supplement the giving they were already doing through their private foundation. As Center for Family Philanthropy Members, the Couchmans have worked with Foundation staff to conduct a formal grantmaking process, develop values and mission statements for their giving and, very important to the couple, engage their adult children in the giving process.
The Couchman Noble Family Fund assists organizations in North Fulton and surrounding areas that provide “hands-on programs with measurable results.” “Our goal is to create self sufficiency and independence in the North Fulton area,” says David Couchman. “Our emphasis is on smaller organizations. We found that a lot had excellent intentions but needed support to strengthen their structure and operations. They didn’t have the infrastructure to operate in an efficient manner,” he says.
About a year ago, the Couchmans, along with several members of the community, revived Community Education Force (CEF), a nonprofit organization that had a great history in the community but was forced to suspend its operations a few years ago. The Couchmans have worked diligently to build a board of directors consisting of local community leaders. Today, CEF is forming collaborative partnerships with other organizations to provide programs for at-risk youth in the Sandy Springs.
Through their grantmaking and support, the Couchmans have helped multiple organizations in their local area build upon their management and operations. One such organization is Homestretch, which gives working homeless families in North Metro Atlanta the support they need to get back on their feet. Homestretch has experienced many successes in its 15 year history but it lacked an updated plan to guide its future work and impact. As Board president, Melanie is working very closely with the organization to develop a strategic plan.
Upon recommendation from The Community Foundation, the Couchmans provided a grant for a consultant from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits to facilitate an organizational assessment of Homestretch. In addition, a grant from the Couchmans went to the purchase of software and a new server for the organization, upgrading its technical capacity and enhancing the organization’s fundraising ability and volunteer data management system.
David and Melanie Couchman believe that sound management helps an organization more effectively carry out its mission to make an even greater impact. As philanthropists, they support this belief through the investment of their resources– financial, human and intellectual. Through their philanthropic efforts, they are helping strengthen not only nonprofits, but the entire North Fulton community.