We can build a vital community

We all want to see Fort Dodge thrive and prosper. We want our community to be a vital and vibrant place that we take pride in and call our home. But what is a vital community? It depends on how we look at ourselves and our community and the vision we have for the future.

Every community is different, but vital communities have things in common that separate them from the ordinary. Vital communities seem to have a community optimism that inspires a sense of hope and a can-do spirit. This optimism produces a community energy that creates inspired leadership and engaged citizens who work together to make a difference.

Vital communities do not fear change, they welcome it. They understand that embracing change can strengthen a community’s ability to plan for the future and take advantage of opportunities to enhance its capacity as dynamic place to live. Building a vital community is an attempt to address the issues and problems that concern citizens the most: economic prosperity, health and well being, positive youth support and development, educational opportunity, environmental integrity, quality of life and the welfare of future generations. Vital communities cultivate new coalitions and partnerships to address community needs and foster new development opportunities. They understand that their destiny is in their own hands and are willing to accept the risk and responsibility for taking control of their own future.

Vital communities have an ingrained sense of connectedness, resourcefulness and resiliency. They utilize the talents and resources of their local citizens and invest in economic, social, and educational opportunity for all adults, families and youth. Vital communities are demonstrating that it is possible to shift from conflict and competitiveness to collaboration and cooperation when citizens find common values and develop shared goals to guide community action. Vital communities are realizing that vision and ideas can influence actions and inspire change, but it requires a commitment on the part of the citizens to decide that it is important to get involved, to take ownership in their community’s future, and to turn choices into action.

Growing a strong, healthy and vital community requires a longterm commitment – one that needs constant nurturing, support, and resources. A vital community provides citizens with inspiring opportunities to invest in the future of their community and support a culture that advances the common good and embrace quality of life.

The Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way is focused on on helping Fort Dodge become a vital community. The role of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way is to serve as an important resource for community investment, to help civic-minded citizens invest in their community and create new opportunities for growth, development and prosperity for today and for tomorrow. A donor advised fund is one tool that offers donors an easy and effective way to make an immediate and long-lasting difference in the community.

A donor advised fund provides donors with a simple, flexible and efficient way to manage their charitable giving. Donors can make grants to their favorite charities or charitable projects at any point during the year and for any dollar amount they choose. This flexibility is unique to donor advised funds and is a very appealing option for philanthropically inclined individuals and families. With a donor advised fund, donors enjoy an immediate tax deduction for their contributions to their fund in the year they are made, yet donors maintain the option of making grants to their favorite charities or causes at a later date. This eliminates year-end pressure to select charities and distribute grants.

To establish a donor advised fund, donors can give cash, securities or property. They are then able to deduct the fair market value from their taxes. With donated appreciated securities or property, they also avoid any capital gains tax liability. If their donor advised fund is endowed, they are eligible for an additional 25 percent state of Iowa tax credit. The Endow Iowa Tax Credit is only available through qualified community foundations like the Fort Dodge Community Foundation.

For more information on how you can invest in your community through charitable giving by establishing a donor advised fund or other tax advantaged giving options, contact the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. Our offices are located at 24 N. Ninth St., Suite B in downtown Fort Dodge. Or you can call us at (515) 573-3171.

Randy Kuhlman is the chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way.


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