What is a community foundation?

COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS – CFs – are not a new idea. The first was set up in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio, and today there are thousands around the world. Yet the concept of CFs has, until now, been unknown in this country, and it was less than two years ago that the first was officially launched in Thailand – the Phuket Community Foundation, or PCF.

Part of the network: Sailors and marines from the USS Boxer spent a morning painting a room for the toy library at Hongyok Bamrung School in Mai Khao.

Part of the network: Sailors and marines from the USS Boxer spent a morning painting a room for the toy library at Hongyok Bamrung School in Mai Khao.

CFs are a powerful force for doing good in society. They are also financially powerhouses. For example, Rotary has total worldwide assets – that is, investments from which Rotary clubs draw an income – of around US$700 million. In contrast, the Tulsa Community Foundation alone has assets of US$3.l7 billion, and the top 10 in the US have assets totaling around US$18 billion.

In Thailand Rotary is familiar to almost everyone, yet few have heard of CFs or know how they work. CFs are different from conventional charities. In the conventional model donors give to the charity whose agenda is closest to their heart, and the members of the charity then apply the funds to that agenda. Examples in Phuket include Soi Dog and PAWS (stray animals), the Phuket International Women’s Club and Phuket Has Been Good To Us (children’s education), the Phuket Sunshine Village (orphans and underprivileged children), or the Old Phuket Foundation (preservation of culture).

All of these do very valuable work and are an important part of the soul and conscience of Phuket. Their contribution can never be overvalued. But there are huge gaps, huge needs, that are not addressed by charities, or by national or local government. It is these needs that the PCF was set up to address.

Click here to see a scan of certificate of the PCF’s registration as a Thai charity.

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