When Ben White and his brothers decided to honor their parents’ memory through philanthropy they looked no further than The Community Foundation. In 2007, White and his three brothers created the Jane and Ed White Fund, an unrestricted fund to benefit the Greater Atlanta region.
“Our parents lived in Atlanta for most of their lives and made their own significant contributions to the area. They served as great examples of what it means to be actively involved,” said White. “It seemed only fitting to remember them through a general fund for the benefit of the entire region.”
Unrestricted funds are permanent endowed funds that go to support The Community Foundation’s competitive grantmaking program, the Common Good Funds. Each year, a percentage of the Common Good Funds balance is granted to nonprofits that have gone through a rigorous application process. Unrestricted funds provide donors an effective way to leave a permanent legacy in the Atlanta region that can adjust over time to meet the needs of our changing communities.
While the Foundation’s Common Good Funds are often the choice for donors looking to leave a legacy through their will or estate plan, some donors like White decide to make unrestricted gifts now.
“The Community Foundation knows the needs of the region and how to respond better than we do and, for that matter, better than most people do. The staff and Board members responsible for reviewing the nonprofits and applications are highly capable and effective; they can determine how best to use resources,” he continued.
“We were confident when we made the gift, and we are confident now, that the money will be put to good use.”
White and his brothers support various causes through their own individual philanthropy. For White, the children and families, the arts and education are issues of importance. In making this particular gift, however, they saw a chance to contribute to the overall betterment of the Greater Atlanta region.
“We didn’t have a specific agenda with the gift. We simply wanted to honor our parents by adding a small amount to the resources currently available to tackle Atlanta’s most pressing issues,” says White.
In his 35-year history with The Community Foundation serving as legal counsel, White has seen how unrestricted funds have allowed the Foundation to be responsive to the changing needs and issues of the times. “Look at today. Charities are in a crisis mode. If there ever were a need for unrestricted dollars, now is the time,” says White. “These funds are more important now than ever before.
“With unrestricted funds The Community Foundation is free to use the money as it thinks best,” says White. “The needs change. The nonprofits change,” he says. “We’d like to think our gift will be here 100 years from now to help address whatever the needs might be at that time.”