The Indian River Community Foundation is a testament to the generosity of Indian River County residents, rocketing from zero to $100 million in philanthropic contributions in just 10 short years. To celebrate the milestone, the IRCF hosted a 10th Birthday Luncheon at the Vero Beach Museum of Art last Wednesday afternoon.
Welcoming the roomful of invited guests, Rebecca Emmons, IRCF vice chairman, recalled that in 2008 the country was in the middle of an economic recession and the L.A. Dodgers announced they were relocating their spring training. On the plus side was a question posed that year by attorney Robin Lloyd to Rick McDermott and Ann Marie McCrystal – “Would you like to start a community foundation?”
The answer was yes, and an initial 52 founders contributed over $1.75 million in start-up capital to begin “a nonprofit enterprise with the powerful, simple purpose of building a better community through donor-driven philanthropy.”
Sharing a decade of highlights, Emmons said IRCF has received more than $100 million in charitable contributions and has awarded $50 million in grants. Forty individuals and families have joined the Alma Lee Loy Legacy Society, including IRCF in their estate plans. The foundation has provided support, stewardship and backing to numerous nonprofits, community initiatives and projects.
“The foundation still holds $50 million in assets with 161 charitable giving accounts, making the foundation one of the fastest-growing young community foundations in the country,” said Emmons.
Angelia Perry, Gifford Youth Achievement Center executive director, spoke of the impact of a $50,000 grant to support Boys 2 Men 2 Greatness, which matches vulnerable young boys with black male role models. “And thus, the foundation has made an investment in the lives of these young boys that will pay dividends for years and generations to come.”
“We would not be here today celebrating our 10th birthday were it not for the vision of founding directors Robin Lloyd, Ann Marie McCrystal and Rick McDermott,” said Jeff Pickering, IRCF president/CEO, before recognizing the hard work and dedication of first IRCF executive director, Kerry Bartlett, and past presidents and board members, and asking their help to cut the birthday cake.
Vero’s exceptional Alma Lee Loy and Scott Alexander, IRCF immediate past president, presented a Spirit of Philanthropy award to John and Kathi Schumann.
“John and Kathi have had the foresight to make things happen in the lives of many citizens in our area,” said Loy, joined by Alexander to note their innumerable and impactful contributions, including to the Vero Beach Museum of Art, Indian River State College, Indian River Charter High School, Senior Resource Association, Dogs for Life and McKee Botanical Garden.
Louis Schacht, campaign chair of the Building Homes at the Manor Campaign for St. Francis Manor, which provides low-cost housing to limited-income seniors, spoke of the $100,000 IRCF grant toward their expansion efforts to offer housing to another 36 residents. “Your organization is the perfect advocate for a nonprofit like St. Francis,” said Schacht. “Your connection between generous donors and worthy, unsung nonprofits is truly helpful and unique.”
“Today’s 10th Birthday Luncheon is as much about inspiring our vision for the Community Foundation’s future as it is about celebrating our past,” said Pickering, introducing Kristen Heaney, a wealth legacy coach who shared ways to spark ideas in generosity. As they left, guests were given copies of Heaney’s book, “In Three Generations: A Story about Family, Wealth, and Beating the Odds.”
VBHS Fighting Indians Band member Logan Fillizola spoke about their fundraising efforts to participate in the 2019 New Year’s Day Parade in London before introducing members of the drumline, who closed the luncheon with an ear-splitting display of school spirit.