Over 100 volunteers witness the importance of “paying it forward” through philanthropy every year in November at Texas A & M International’s Killam Library Colonnade as the Laredo Area Community Foundation hosts their disbursement ceremony. Over $225,000 were disbursed to 33 local and area charities this year.
Recipients include Congregation Agudas Acim, Laredo Center for the Arts, Imaginarium of South Texas, TAMIU, LCC, St. Augustine High School, Ursuline Sisters, Laredo Boy Scouts of America, United Way of Laredo, Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Junior Achievement of Laredo. Numerous scholarships were also awarded to high school students from LISD, UISD, Cotulla High School, Zapata High School and Bruni High School to help them further their higher education.
“It is overwhelming to see all those checks going out and to know how many lives are being touched by the contagious spirit of giving we witness every year,” exclaimed Melissa Peters, whose father, Stewart Kimble Martin, was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Laredo Area Community Foundation.
To bring home their mission of charitable giving, LACF Board members individually contribute towards a pooled account so that each of the organization’s 15 current non-profit endowed funds receive a gift of $500 from the LACF Board of Directors. “We are proud to do our part as a Board to help our funds grow and to show the communities we serve that we are willing to “walk the walk” when it comes to charitable giving,” explained Board President Keith Franklin. Board Member Larry Norton added, “Through our example, we hope to encourage the non-profits to continue to add to their respective funds. The more they give to their fund, the more they get back for their organization, not just for now, but forever.”
Non-profit funds receiving LACF Board gifts included Bethany House, Children’s Advocacy Center, Communities in Schools, Ruthe B. Cowl, Imaginarium of South Texas, Junior Achievement of Laredo, Laredo Kidney Foundation, Laredo Center for the Arts, Laredo HIV/AIDS Services Consortia, Laredo Theater Guild International, Boys and Girls Clubs of Laredo, TAMIU Engineering Program, TAMIU Library, United Way, and Women’s City Club.
To date, the Foundation has disbursed over $2.6 million in donor funds to benefit local and area non-profits and has grown to over 80 funds, with total assets of over $9 million. LACF offers a myriad of gifting options for anyone and any budget, including direct donations of cash, property, or stock, five different types of endowment funds, and vehicles for gifting after death such as life insurance, will bequests, and charitable trusts. “We truly are a One Stop Shop for charitable giving,” explained Board Vice President Joe Arceniega. “LACF takes care of all the paperwork, tax returns, and disbursements from each fund, and makes sure donor’s gifting goals are respected and carried out in perpetuity.”