We connect people who care with causes that matter

The Community Foundation of Lorain County is dedicated to enriching the lives of those living and working in Lorain County, Ohio.

History of the Foundation

The community foundation movement began in Cleveland Ohio in 1914 and sixty-six years later the Community Foundation of Lorain County was created 30 miles to the west in Lorain County.  Our history is an amazing story of an organization rich with innovation, strong in integrity and filled with the aspirations of a very generous community.

In 1979 and 1980, creation of a community foundation to serve the needs of the Lorain County area became a prime concern of the Trustees of the Nordson Foundation: Evan W. Nord, Eric T. Nord, and William D. Ginn.  They were convinced that a local, public foundation could make certain kinds of charitable giving easier and more productive for both donors and the community at large.  They convened a group of community leaders to turn this dream into a reality.

The first Board meeting of “The Greater Lorain County Community Foundation” was held in November 1980.  Nordson Foundation pledged $500,000 if that amount could be raised by other contributions.  The match was soon met and the Nordson Foundation further offered to lend their staff for at least the first three years in order to assist in raising funds and administering the grants process.  Three years extended to six and in 1987, the Community Foundation moved to their own office, hired the first full time Executive Director and became independent.

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The Foundation changed it's name to "Community Foundation of Greater Lorain County" in 1984.  During the early years the Community Foundation pioneered the creation of school endowment funds, partnerships with local school districts and their communities, to build permanent endowments to provide added educational value to local students.  The Community Foundation was instrumental in the creation of numerous organization including Second Harvest and Leadership Lorain County.  Funds, assets and grantmaking grew at a steady pace as the foundation gained capacity and earned the trust of Lorain County residents.  Working with local leaders, the Community Foundation also pioneered the creation of population based affiliated fund with the Hispanic Fund in 1986 and the predecessor of the African-American Community Fund in 1989.

During the 1990s, the Community Foundation participated in several national efforts to learn and grow, including peer assessments through the Council on Foundations, a diversity funds initiative through the Ford Foundation and a community foundation leadership initiative funded by the Ford and MacArthur Foundations.  The later led to the expansion of school endowments for all Lorain County School Districts and the creation of the Center for Leadership in Education.

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The Community Foundation hosted, in 1998, a delegation from Poland eager to learn the US model of community foundations.  That connection led to twelve years of involvement as a member of the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network and an international learning community exploring the best of North American and European adaptations of the original model.  The Community Foundation has hosted visitors from at least fifteen different countries and is well recognized and regarded in the global community foundation movement.

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In 2005, the Foundation was rebranded the “Community Foundation of Lorain County” and also became the first Community Foundation in the United States to be certified in compliance with National Standards for US Community Foundations.  This accreditation provides third-party confirmation that the Community Foundation of Lorain County operates using recognized best practices.

The Foundation moved to its current location in 2011 providing a permanent home for this FOREVER institution.  Assets at the Foundation topped $100 million in 2013, marking a significant milestone and putting the Foundation in the top 2% of all foundations in the United States.  While good business practices and strong investment returns have helped, we can never forget that this community treasure was created from the generosity of thousands of Lorain County residents who share a desire for a strong and vibrant community.

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Chief Executives

Dr. Jeptha Carrell – 1980 to 1986

Carrol Simonetti – 1986 to 1995

Dr. Malcolm Peel – 1995 to 1997

Dolly Minter (Interim) – 1997

Brian Frederick – 1998 to present

We value community, which we define as putting self aside for the betterment of the whole.

We provide a permanent instrument for receiving and managing charitable gifts and bequests.

We believe strategy, creativity, and adaptability are keys to thriving in a constantly changing world.

We believe integrity is our greatest asset and value trust earned with fiscal responsibility, ethical stewardship, and transparency

We exercise and promote leadership in meeting the changing needs and opportunities in the community.

We believe access to the CFLC should be fair, inclusive, and equitable.

We believe in purposeful and collaborative community leadership.

We value integrity, which we define as always doing the right thing.

We value excellence, which we define as providing the best service to all.

We work to mobilize individuals to become active partners in building a better community.

We support innovative programs and act as a catalyst in identifying problems and sharing information with individuals, other foundations, and corporations.

We believe the perpetuity of our efforts are linked to sustainable practices.

Through our efforts, the Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life and to instill a greater sense of unity in Lorain County.