Organizations: Community Foundation Of Central Georgia

Sara Anderson, an 89-year-old Cotton Belt dowager, likes to quote a fatalistic motto in her Middle Georgia drawl: “You simply can’t take it with you.”

It Begins at Home: She recently donated her north Macon home to the Com-munity Foundation of Cen-tral Georgia (CFCG) to sell and help underwrite an array of churches, educational institutions and charities.

“I love to give away money,” says Anderson, whose endowment exceeds $100,000 to date.

“Some went to the Tuskegee Airmen Museum because my husband was a fighter pilot in World War II, and there’s a long list of others, including the school up the street.”

The foundation, based in Macon, was founded in 1993 to encourage philanthropy in 15 counties in the heart of Georgia. With assets of $60 million, it has awarded more than $38 million in grants through its donor-advised, unrestricted, designated and organizational endowment funds.

High-Tech Players: The group seeks out innovative collaborations, matching grants and technological applications, joining forces with other organizations such as, which helps teachers acquire school supplies.

“So many teachers buy hundreds of pencils out of their own pockets,” says Julia Wood, director of donor services for the CFCG.

“Only a couple of our teachers were using DonorsChoose. We met with educational leaders to let them know about this resource, then we gave $50,000, which was matched by another $50,000. So we were able to infuse our local school systems with $100,000 very quickly.”

For neighborhood revitalization, the CFCG encourages input from residents with the latest software for civic activism. “It’s a little like the voting on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos,’” Wood says.

“We hold a forum with a PowerPoint presentation, and the audience uses a clicker to vote anonymously for or against something – what they want in a food co-op or community garden, for example – and then we slice the numbers. We want everyone to feel that sense of place.”

Artful Investing: Other beneficiaries include Story-Corps, the Macon Film Festival and the Crossroads Writers Conference.

“Arts funding gets cut because people don’t realize the fullness of its im-pact,” says Chris Horne, an organizer of Crossroads, which anticipates 450 participants this year with author Rick Moody headlining, thanks to the CFCG.

“It’s an economic engine as well as a quality of life issue, part of the air you breathe. The foundation gets that, and it helps us reach our potential by investing in who we really are.”

Or aren’t.

“I do not wish to be some grumpy old woman,” Anderson says.

“Life is about cheerful giving.”

Categories: Organizations