The New Braunfels Community Foundation wants to make its donors’ dollar go further than it can go alone.
Working to help individuals, families and businesses create local philanthropic legacies, the NBCF is all about creating a lasting impact, said Brit King, CEO and president of the foundation.
“To date we’ve given away about $2.5 million so far. This year — it’s been about $500,000,” King said. “The community foundation works with donors to set up endowment funds to support whatever cause it is the donors want to support. Whatever their passion is.”
The NBCF was born out of an idea by a group of five New Braunfelsers in 2009.
“The (Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce) was having a strategy weekend, a long-term strategy weekend and the question was asked, ‘What do we need here that we don’t have?’” King said. “Cecil Eager, super good guy, he said, ‘We need to get our own foundation.’”
It was five people who were in that meeting who decided to band together to create the foundation, King said.
“Those people were Cecil Eager, David Pfeuffer, Doug Toney, Roger Tuttle and Marian Benson,” King said. “So those five people went to try to figure out ‘How do we get our own foundation started?’”
It took the group about four years of interviewing other community foundations and research to get a game plan, King said.
“I hired in 2013, we didn’t even have our IRS letter yet to make us a 501(c)3 so this year will our sixth full year of operations, 2014 was our first full year of operations,” King said.
As the city grows, its problems also grow — which can lead to stress on philanthropic services, King said.
“We talk a lot about the roads and all those things, but the strain all that growth is putting onto our nonprofits is a real thing, and the services they offer to a growing community are going to get strained,” King said.
It’s because of this that having a long-term funding source for these vital services is very important, King said.
“So that’s what we do, we work with donors to figure out how to match their passions with the people that have those services,” he said.
Why give to NBCF?
For anyone who has a specific nonprofit on their heart, it’s great to give to them directly, King said. However for those who have a general idea of an issue they’re passionate about but aren’t sure how to best help, the NBCF can come in to help.
“If you’re wanting some expertise on the community, on the nonprofits and you want your gift to last a long time, then that’s where we come in,” King said. “If you want to give it right to your nonprofit, that is exactly what you should do, but if you want it to have a lasting impact that’s where we can help you.”
King used animals as an example. For an individual passionate about helping animals, but who doesn’t have a specific animal nonprofit in mind, they can give their money to the foundation, which will decide how to best dole funds out and when to do so.
“If I gave money to what I’m passionate about, which is kids, I could start that giving now, and there maybe a great nonprofit that helps kids 50 years from now that I don’t even know about, but I’ve set aside money to help them,” King explained. “When it’s more long-term, and you want your gift to last a really long time, that’s where we come into play.”
Another benefit to giving money to the foundation or leaving funds to the foundation is the help the giver receives on their taxes.
“We have a donor advised fund, which means a family or person will give money to the foundation, they get to write that off on their taxes, and we help them give that money to whatever cause they want to give to,” King said. “So it’s almost like their charitable checking account.”
How to give
There’s a lot of different ways to give, King said, showing a list detailing several different ways.
“Obviously cash is the easiest thing to give,” King said. “But when somebody is working on tax issues, often times they choose one of these other options,” he said, gesturing to the list.
Folks can give by creating a new fund, contributing to an existing fund, giving an unrestricted contribution — a general donation the foundation can use in any way it deems best — or through estate planning.
Major gift types include cash, securities, real estate, bequests, life insurance, IRA or other retirement plans, or a transfer of assets of a private foundation.
“A big one we’re seeing right now is IRAs,” King said. “A lot of people have been really fortunate and they don’t really need to take that for their lifestyle, so they can give their required minimum distribution — if they take that IRA themselves they’re going to get taxed, it’s going to be income tax eligible. If they give it straight to charity, there’s no income tax taken out of it.”
The NBCF is also seeing this with stocks, King said.
“They might have a big stock portfolio and they’re like, ‘Say I really want to give some money to the foundation or some other non-profit’ — so if I own 100 shares of Apple and the stock is — let’s say it’s $100 a share — if I sell it, I’m going to be taxed on that,” King said. “If I give it directly to any charity, they go to charity, no taxes out of it. So a lot of people like to do that to help offset taxes.”
Pillars of giving
The NBCF is divvied up into six pillars and has several major funds or organizations donations go into, King said.
“Those pillars are animal welfare, healthy kids, strong families, faith-based organizations, education and community betterment,” King said.
Within the animal welfare pillar are two major funds — the Clay Townsend Memorial Pet Fund and the Peter Nordberg Memorial Fund for Animals, King said.
“The Clay Townsend one is interesting. I had an attorney friend call me and a lady had walked into his office who was named as the executor of an estate … this guy had passed away and in the will, it said she was supposed to form a foundation to help elderly people with veterinary care for their dogs and cats. So she’s like, ‘What do I do?’” King said. “So he called me and I said, ‘Yeah we can do that,’ so we set up this fund.”
Working with the senior center, King was able to find a way to help seniors with pets.
“They’ve already vetted people for their income status and they know who has pets, so I just write a check to them every single year, and they use their Meals on Wheels program to identify the people who need it and they give out the money that way,” King said.
In the healthy kids pillar, a notable fund is the Lifeguards Fund, founded by Gruene Hall co-owner Mary Jane Nalley.
“That’s for suicide prevention and awareness,” King said. “Also in healthy kids, we have funds for CASA, CIS and Connections.”
In strong families is Family Promise and a veterans fund set up by a local veteran, King said.
“For faith based, we have YoungLife and we have a fund for Oakwood Church,” King said.
A fund for a general field of interest in the arts is in the community betterment pillar.
“That’s called The Community Endowment for the Arts, people give that money and we decide who to give money out to in the arts category,” King said.
Also in community betterment is a fund for the Headwaters at the Comal and a general fund that allows the board to decide where to give money to in the community.
“Education, that’s our biggest one because we have all those scholarship funds,” King said. “We have a fund for the Comal 4H group, we have funds for the New Braunfels Public Library and the Type Preston Library in Canyon Lake.”