Community Foundation:
Past and Present

Our Story Begins

In 1980, the 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 wanted to create a local and public foundation that could make charitable giving more accessible and productive for both donors and the community.

The Nordson Foundation pledged $500K to start the Community Foundation if other contributions could equal that amount. The match was made, and the Nordson Foundation further offered to lend its staff to assist in raising funds and administering the grants process.

The 1980s

During the early years, the Community Foundation pioneered the creation of school endowment funds to provide added educational value to local students. The Community Foundation was also instrumental in the creation of numerous organizations, including Second Harvest Food Bank and Leadership Lorain County. In 1987, the Community Foundation moved to its own office, hired the first full-time Executive Director, and became independent. Working with local leaders, the Community Foundation also pioneered the creation of population-based affiliated funds with the Hispanic Fund in 1986 and the African-American Community Fund in 1989.

The 1990s

During the 1990s, the Community Foundation participated in several national efforts, including peer assessments, a diversity funds initiative, and leadership training. The latter led to the expansion of school endowments for all Lorain County School Districts and the creation of the Center for Leadership in Education.

In 1998, the Community Foundation hosted a delegation from Poland who was eager to learn the U.S. model of community foundations. That connection led to 12 years of involvement as a member of the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network.

Throughout those years, the Community Foundation hosted visitors from over 15 different countries and became well recognized and regarded in the global community foundation movement.

The 2000s

In 2005, the Community Foundation rebranded itself as the “Community Foundation of Lorain County.” It also became the first Community Foundation in the United States to be certified in compliance with National Standards for US Community Foundations.

National Standards Seal

2010 to Present

The Community Foundation moved to its current location in 2011,  providing a permanent home for this forever institution. Assets at the Foundation topped $100M in 2013, marking a significant milestone and putting the Foundation in the top 2% of all foundations in the United States. In 2019 the Community Foundation achieved another milestone by awarding over $100M in grants and scholarships in its 40-year history.

Thank You Lorain County!

While good business practices and strong investment returns have helped over the years, 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.