Philanthropy discussed at Rotary Club

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2015


David Carlton listens to a question from George Herring following the conclusion of the meeting. — Carolyn Iamon

David Carlton, president of the Community Foundation of Southwest Georgia, came to Rotary this week to speak about the work they do and to challenge others to embrace philanthropy.

The concept of community foundations began in Cleveland Ohio in 1914. In October 1995 a group of Southwest Georgians began meeting with the result of the Community Foundation of Southwest Georgia being founded in 1996. Their vision was to encourage philanthropy, strengthen the community and improve the lives for all South Georgians.

The organization helps families, businesses and organizations to create non-taxable charitable funds under the umbrella of the Community Foundation.

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The Foundation works with donors as well as with non-profits who find it cheaper and simpler to make tax-deductible contributions through the organization, which invests and distributes funds per the donors’ wishes.

With offices in Thomasville, the Foundation covers 35 counties of southwest Georgia. In the last 20 years the Foundation has distributed $95 million to charities. Last year it distributed $23 million dollars from 330 funds.

Through the Foundation, the people of SWGA made 1700 grants to 540 charities and a scholarship program issued $130,000 in 120 scholarships last year. They also do estate planning and carry out the initiatives of families.

Carlton challenged members to become involved with philanthropy, to find their passion or field of interest and get involved with setting up funds for it. “We want to be there to help,” he explained.  “Challenge your heart” and learn what it means to serve others by giving. Quoting the Bible, he stressed, “Give and it shall be given unto you.”

He again quoted scripture regarding selflessness, saying his favorite saying is from James 3:16, “Where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

The Foundation encourages philanthropy, strengthening the community and improving the lives for all south Georgians.

He concluded by defining his job as, “I help people help other people.”