By Brian Frederick
How A Community Foundation is a Field of Dreams
Can you believe this year? The Cavs win the championship, Cleveland gained national kudos for how it hosted the RNC, and the Indians make it to the World Series (as I’m writing this Game 7 is set to commence in Cleveland). I don’t think it could be more surprising than if we literally wandered into a mystical cornfield and discovered the most fantastic baseball team history could produce. Regardless of the outcome of tonight, the sports drought has ended and our region is electric with palpable hope and pride for the place we call home.
This reminds me of a story I love. And it pairs baseball with philanthropy. Ewing Kauffman donated the Kansas City Royals to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Kauffman was majority owner of the Kansas City Royals and he loved the game, the team, and his community. He also understood the importance of baseball and its connection to local pride. Kauffman used his community foundation to accomplish something that would benefit all three. Ewing devised a brilliant plan to keep the Royals in Kansas City forever, something that Cleveland sports fans can certainly admire, and to benefit many charities serving people in the community.
The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation had two provisions set by Kauffman: sell the team to someone who would keep it in Kansas City and the proceeds from the sale had to go to local charities. Kauffman knew that a successful team had less chance of being sold and moved, so he also donated $100M to keep the Royals afloat after his death. Ewing Kauffman passed away in 1993 and his plan worked; the Kansas City Royals won the World Series in 2015 and are beloved by the residents of that area. Untold Kansas City residents have been, and continue to benefit from, Mr. Kauffman’s creative generosity.
If you build it…
One of my favorite movies is the Field of Dreams. You might remember that Kevin Costner builds a baseball diamond in his corn field, jeopardizing his family’s financial well-being for a dream he doesn’t fully understand. Later in the movie, James Earl Jones gives a memorable oratory as only he can.
Jones could easily be describing a community foundation and how people come forward to support causes important to them and the community. The founders of the Community Foundation of Lorain County understood this and created a place to understand community needs and to leverage charitable giving to do great things for our community, for our collective tribe.
They will come…
And they have! You, our donors and friends, have joined in this dream to the tune of creating nearly 600 Funds and gifting $117 million in community treasure. Not only are those dreams fulfilled, but that legacy is securing the dreams of Lorain County’s future.