New Impact Funds will direct your dollars to areas of need, and you have a say.

New Impact Funds will direct your dollars to areas of need, and you have a say.

This winter, Cascade Community Foundation (CCF) announced plans to invest in areas of urgent need, identified exclusively by the community itself.  The effort is built around a renewed focus toward community philanthropy, and places Cascade residents and businesses in the driver’s seat through an ongoing request to identify, amplify and invest in often avoided subject matter like mental illness, addiction, finances and more.

“Over the past two years local residents have made us aware of some urgent needs, some critically necessary to investigate and amplify through awareness building,” said Cascade Community Foundation’s CEO, Justin Swan.  “Today, we’re ready to go further and direct our grantmaking toward vetted services and possible solutions that can impact lives here at home.”

The Impact Fund at Cascade Community Foundation is a unique pool of locally raised dollars used to fund the identify and amplify stages of a 3-part program.  The lifecycle of each fund begins with an online survey (complete the survey now at that wholly places the community itself in the role of identifying subjects.  Once an area of need surfaces, an impact fund is established begin amplifying an awareness building effort through public outreach and the Q&A Livestream – an online video series that investigates the topic, shining a spotlight on personal testimonies from within our community as well as available or prospective solutions discusses on-camera with local experts. Then, CCF directs proceeds from the Joyce and Thomas Wisner Fund to begin investing in services and solutions for our residents.

“The beauty of this process is the financial investment that comes at the end,” said board member Marty Marino. “The community’s willingness to share with us these urgent needs is made even more special by the Foundation’s ability to invest grant dollars into solutions and services.”

Last October CCF publicly unveiled the 3-part initiative to area business and philanthropic leaders for the first time, receiving an overwhelming response, and an eagerness to direct a portion of their philanthropic focus back into their home community.

“CCF is taking on the challenge to overcome the perception that Cascade, Ada and Forest Hills are communities without significant problems,” added Swan. “Or that all of our giving is best directed elsewhere. Because of these misperceptions, issues like mental illness, addiction, and more are hiding in plain sight which has a negative impact on all charitable giving.

“Just imagine if we could channel a small percentage of that charitable giving back home, to work on ourselves,” Swan added. “The restorative outcome would result in even greater capacity to give elsewhere… otherwise known as a win-win.”

According to Swan, with significant support being funneled to the county’s urban core, the resources to address these challenges are proving more difficult to find here at home. For CCF, starting community dialogue about these and other local issues is a critical first step to investing back in our community.

CCF will announce the focus of this year’s Impact Fund and subsequent 5th Season of the Q&A Livestream at its annual event LaunchPad in the Spring.  Individuals and businesses who want to learn more about contributing to the fund, or sponsoring CCF’s events and programs are encouraged to call 616-499-2060 or email Justin Swan at

Want to discover more about Cascade Community Foundation’s programming and services?  Check out these websites and channels:

Cascade Community Foundation is a 501(C)(3) dedicated to serving Ada, Cascade, and Forest Hills residents, businesses, local government, and nonprofits. Through the Q&A Livestream series, annual grantmaking, and the establishment of private endowment funds, the Foundation helps to preserve this robust community, manage philanthropic resources efficiently, and guide support to areas of greatest need.