Madison Community Foundation featured in Madison Magazine

Madison Magazine's February issue explores Madison area philanthropy and features Madison Community Foundation's past, present and future with interviews, photos and more.

Here is a snippet of the article...to read the full article click here.

The city that philanthropy built
There's a philanthropic shift in Madison's air

Madison has long leaned on philanthropy. When John Nolen had a vision of a city built on an isthmus, it was a small group of philanthropists led by John M. Olin who ponied up the $2,500 to publish the unique architectural plan. Since then, nearly everything people love about Madison has been built at least in some part, brick by etched brick, by the generosity of individual donors, foundations, faith communities, university alumni, civic officials, business groups and passionate families—and we’re not just talking about beautiful buildings and parks.

To every new need, a fresh response has risen—and Dane County now has one of the highest concentrations of nonprofits in the country, with more than 2,500 registered 501(c)(3)s, up from 2,000 in 2014. Those nonprofits are supported by community-funded umbrella organizations that act as conduits between donors and the gritty, hands-on work. The United Way of Dane County depends on corporate giving and community donations to help fund $20 million a year in basic needs programming that targets homelessness, poverty and health care for the most vulnerable among us. Community Shares exists to help its 70 environmental and social justice nonprofit members band together to advocate for grassroots support that benefits all citizens. When Madison Community Foundation was created in 1942 with $400,000 in donations, it wasn’t to build an arts center or library—it was because resident philanthropists wanted to help troops returning home from World War II. Then, the federal government stepped in with the GI Bill, and MCF pivoted to address other concerns in the community—and they’ve been pivoting ever since. In the past 25 years alone, MCF has distributed more than $200 million to nonprofits in Dane County.

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