SHIRLEY -- From providing an umbrella logo to coordinating a town event calendar (no meetings, just "fun stuff") so that charitable efforts don't unintentionally compete for time, space or attendance, Shirley Charitable Foundation can make the fundraising process smoother and giving easier.
But like all evolutionary processes, it took time to get it right.
"We changed our approach," SCF Trustee Ron Marchetti explained. "To begin with, we had money to share but there were no takers lined up at the door." As the nonprofit group worked on building it's endowment, the question became, where were all the great organizations that they knew were out there doing good?
A new idea emerged. "We could be a driver, bring it all together," he said.
The partnership-based model SCF operates under now brings in an array of grant opportunities that tie into the different "passions" that frame each group's vision.
One organization may give only to education, for example, while others focus on art, historic efforts or cultural events. The partnership piece is the common element that "brought a lot of things together," Marchetti said.
It also solved some red tape problems.
"We found organizations that were not, technically, nonprofits," fellow Trustee Al Collins explained. Some didn't have the resources to become an official "501 C3," he said. By coming under the SCF umbrella, they don't have to. "We do the bookkeeping, the taxes, and they reap the
The Community Assistance Collaboration, for example, which the selectmen recently agreed could receive annual interest money from the Grace Winslow Trust Fund.
Established to help seniors in need, the Winslow Trust was officially freed up this year for other charitable uses.
But the selectmen, leery of becoming administrators, held off releasing the funds.
Now they don't have to. The SCF has been authorized to do it for them.
The CAC is all for doing things this way, member Ann Towne later said.
When they first started under a different name, the group worked under the auspices of the Friends of the Council on Aging, which also operates under the SCF umbrella.
The foundation has years of know-how behind it, said Towne, who founded the CAC with fellow members Patricia MacDonald and Frank Esielionis.
Working with the COA and its outreach coordinator and funded by a $5,000 grant, the CAC started out delivering groceries from Loaves and Fishes food pantry to local seniors in need and doling out one-time fuel assistance grants.
With its seed grant used up, the funding infusion from the Winslow Trust allows the group to continue its work and expand its mission to include families and others in need besides seniors, Towne said.
From the selectmen's slant, partnerships such as this one are "like an insurance policy," for the town, SFC Administrator Kevin Johnston said. "This foundation has fiduciary responsibility," he explained. Also, the responsibility "to say no if the purpose (for which money was granted) goes away."
Getting back to the concerts, they are not about raising funds for causes, no matter how worthy, but they do offer visibility to town groups with that aim.
Towne said donations made through SCF can be earmarked for a particular charity, such as CAC, and any money so designated will only be used for that purpose. More information is available on the SCF website, shirleycharitablefoundation.org.