Over the past 62 years, many donors have made a lasting impact on our community through unrestricted funds at CFNLA. With these and other charitable funds, CFNLA has granted over $120 million to nonprofit organizations since its inception in 1961. CFNLA, like all other community foundations, follows the basic model conceived in 1914 by Frederick Harris Goff when he founded the nation’s first community foundation (now the Cleveland Foundation). Goff had a simple but innovative idea: “How fine it would be,” if an individual who was “about to make a will could go to a permanently established organization…and say, ‘Here is a large sum of money. I want to leave it to be used for the good of the community, but I have no way of knowing what will be the greatest need 50 years from now. Therefore, I place it in your hands to determine what should be done.’” Goff’s idea led to a movement that changed the landscape of philanthropy.
At the Foundation, donors may leave a legacy through an unrestricted fund that will both last in perpetuity and be flexible to the needs of our community as they change over time. This is accomplished through investments, strategic research, and thoughtful collaborations. A donor may open an unrestricted fund either during their lifetime or through their estate plan. CFNLA invests the funds in the market and 4% of the market value, including the investment return, is made available for grant-making each year. The principal balance and additional investment returns are retained to allow growth for the fund and build an endowment that lasts forever.
CFNLA Board of Directors makes grants annually from unrestricted funds through the competitive grants process. In April of 2023, CFNLA awarded 54 local nonprofits with a cumulative $3,073,739 in competitive grants. See the list of recipients at cfnla.org/grants.
Each donor has a unique story and charitable interest. CFNLA works diligently to honor them by acknowledging their legacy each year when presenting the awards. Below we highlight a few donors whose legacy gifts make CFNLA’s competitive grants possible.
Leona Bess “Nonnie” Winter Bath, widow of prominent Shreveport businessman, M. L. Bath, donated their home at 819 Margaret Place in memory of her late husband in 1965. With Mrs. Bath’s consent, the property was sold and the assets from the sale created the M. L. and Leona W. Bath Trust Fund. It was the first major gift to the Foundation granted during a donor’s lifetime. The fund made its first grant in 1971 in the amount of $350 and has now awarded a total of $128,193 to local organizations.
Samuel B. Hicks, Jr. and Elizabeth Kobler Hicks were involved with many charitable projects in the Shreveport-Bossier community, giving generously to ensure growth and prosperity in the area. Mrs. Hicks left one of the largest bequests ever made to the Community Foundation when she passed away in 1989. The Samuel B. Hicks, Jr. and Elizabeth Kobler Hicks Fund has awarded over $4.3 million in grants since 1990, more than double the initial gift amount.
Carolyn Querbes Nelson, a former board member of the Community Foundation, died in 2013 and left the majority of her residuary estate to the Foundation. Carolyn was an ardent patron and supporter of the arts in all forms. CFNLA honors her philanthropic passions by using her fund to award many of the organizations she supported in her lifetime. The Carolyn Querbes Nelson Memorial Fund has awarded $2.5 million in grants since 2015.