The Community Foundation’s #SomersetCountyGives campaign comes at a unique time. Our effort to add a million dollars to the Somerset County Community Fund coincides with the largest transfer of wealth in history. A recent study by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania shows us that, over the next 10 years, more than a billion dollars will transfer from Somerset County residents to their heirs. If we can harness just ten percent of that, that’s $100 million.
This creates an extraordinary opportunity to establish resources that will last for generations.
Somerset County’s Daily American published the following opinion piece submitted by Community Foundation for the Alleghenies President Mike Kane in support of the #SomersetCountyGives campaign:
Invest in Tomorrow, Starting Today
What do you see when you look across Somerset County?
I see rolling farmland, dotted with silos and dairy cows, where families have raised generations of children with strong work ethics and strong ties to their native soil.
I see school systems facing big challenges, and leaders who are willing to try anything to tackle those challenges, with resulting successes to celebrate.
I see nonprofits and business leaders working together to diversify and strengthen the local economy, positioning Somerset County as a welcome destination for all types of industry.
Connecting it all, I see committed, thoughtful, community-minded individuals who put their hearts and minds to work every day to uplift this county, and everyone living in it.
I see opportunity.
While Somerset qualifies as a rural economy, its pockets of commerce provide good jobs to those who can get them, and much-needed services to those who need them. Yes, median household income in this region skews lower than the national average – just over $45,400. But that number only tells part of the story.
A recent study by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania shows us the power of pooling our resources. It’s based on an unprecedented transfer of wealth from our existing population to subsequent generations. Over the next 10 years, more than a billion dollars will transfer from Somerset County residents to their heirs. If we can harness just ten percent of that, that’s $100 million — enough to craft whatever future we imagine for Somerset County.
That’s what we’re trying to do with the #SomersetCountyGives campaign. With the deep conviction that we are strongest when we band together, the Community Foundation’s Somerset County Community Fund pools our collective resources, and protects those resources so that they remain a stalwart of local nonprofit support.
The fund creates reserves that will underwrite nonprofit activity throughout the county forever.
That’s how an endowment works. The money is earmarked and invested, and a percentage of that is distributed annually through grants, empowering community-enriching activity without depleting the fund.
Every penny donated to the Somerset County Community Fund is spent in Somerset County.
Some of the benefits of this campaign will be immediate. The fund is already active here. Since it was established in 2000, the fund has distributed nearly $250,000 to more than 80 nonprofits serving this area.
Every dollar added to the fund strengthens that support. If we reach our goal of raising another million dollars in the next five years — a goal we’re well on our way to achieving — the fund will provide more than $70,000 a year to local services and programs. Some of those services meet basic needs, like home heating and weekend meals for undeserved children. Some of those programs enrich life here, with culture and art. Other programs pave the way for economic development. The fund provides life-saving tools to our volunteer firefighters, and services for local veterans. All of these initiatives have an impact on each of us living and working in this region.
Every single person has the power to cultivate good. With smart estate planning, you can care for loved ones and leave a legacy for your community. If we work together, the impact will be bigger than we can imagine.
That’s the greatest gift we can give: resources for a safe, prosperous community, where our children can raise their children, knowing the sky’s the limit.
Visit the Somerset County Community Fund online to see how you can join us.