Local Spotlight: The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Fort Wayne Real Producers.

“What if we strengthened our community through thriving places?” — CFGFW

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne (CFGFW)

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne (CFGFW)

During the second quarter of 2018, more than $580,000 of Community Impact Grants were awarded to 20+ nonprofit agencies in Allen County. These nonprofits help make our community a better, more vibrant place to live and work. Recipients included, but are not limited to: Arts United, Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, FW Urban League, Habitat for Humanity, Literacy Alliance, NeighborLink, Turnstone, and Vincent Village. 

Perhaps you are not overly familiar with the Community Foundation, but no doubt you’ve been touched by its impact in some way.

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne’s tagline, "For good. For ever,” is as inspiring as it is accurate.

Since its establishment in 1922, the Community Foundation has served as a community leader by trying to improve the quality of life of all its members. By building permanent endowments, promoting effective grant-making, fostering philanthropy, stimulating community dialogue, and helping donors achieve their charitable goals, the Community Foundation continues to pursue this primary goal. 

Serving as a mediator between donors and the Fort Wayne public, the Community Foundation utilizes its human and capital resources to help donors distribute their gifts to citizens in need. In the past ten years alone, the Community Foundation has received nearly 7,000 gifts totaling over $86 million, which has been heavily reinvested into the community.

The non-profit organization has seven different types of funds into which donors can invest their money, each having a unique and significant impact on the Fort Wayne community. The Community Foundation uses these funds to support educational scholarships, community building projects, and other charitable organizations. One popular endeavor supported by the Community Foundation is the Riverfront Development.

Fort Wayne Riverfront Development

Fort Wayne Riverfront Development

"The Riverfront Development is a placemaking initiative that is inspiring our city to collectively reimagine and reinvent the public space at the heart of our community – our rivers.” — CFGFW

Since its inception, the Community Foundation has contributed over $3.5 million to the project and has ensured the creation of “a quality public space that will positively impact people's overall health, happiness, and well-being in the community.”

As a committed partner of Riverfront Fort Wayne, the Community Foundation will continue to provide support for this project, which include a promenade, park pavilion, event lawn, urban riverfront terraces, elevated boardwalk, and more.

Fort Wayne citizens may also remember the Community Foundation’s $1.2 million loan to the Downtown Developmental Trust, used to acquire several properties downtown at The Landing. Specializing in revitalizing urban neighborhoods, the Model Group is the developer in charge of the $32.2 million Landing project, which includes the historic restoration of seven downtown buildings on West Columbia Street listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the construction of one new building. 

Construction began early this year and includes 70 apartments and 56,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. This area will be transformed into a modern and unified center for entertainment, commerce, and residential living.

By developing the Landing, the Community Foundation seeks to continue moving the city forward, while simultaneously bringing it back to its roots. Home to the first Fort Wayne post office, theatre, newspaper, railway station, and hotel, the Landing contains a rich history of the city that everyone involved hopes to preserve.

Fast Fact: Did you know Thomas Edison lived on The Landing? In 1864, when he was 17, Edison lived at the northwest corner of Columbia and Calhoun Streets while working as a railroad telegraph operator. (For more information, visit the Fort Wayne History Center’s blog.)

“The Landing is unique to our city – no other community has anything like it,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “That’s why it’s so important to restore this block of buildings and make it a centerpiece of our downtown revitalization efforts.”

The Community Foundation is more than the examples mentioned above however. With over $100 million in 266 endowment funds, it is the community’s savings account, and CFGFW works to benefit Allen County for good, forever—in a myriad of ways.

Given its extensive track record of participation in the Fort Wayne community, it is evident that the Community Foundation has lived up to its credo by creating a philanthropic environment built to last.

Powering Generosity, Maximizing Impact.

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne is a catalyst for community improvement, promoting philanthropic and strategic partnerships that enhance the quality of life in Allen County.

In summary, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne does three things:

  1. It helps people make their charitable giving more impactful.

  2. It connects funding to nonprofits through effective grantmaking.

  3. It provides leadership to address community needs and and improves quality of life.

 If you would like to learn how to get involved with the Community Foundation and contribute to their goals, visit the CFGFW website or call (260) 426-4083.

“When we work together, we are able to move our region forward.” — CFGFW

Below are conceptual illustrations of the propose Landing and Riverfront developments via Design Collaborative and Riverworks Design Group: