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Published: Friday, 4/2/2004

Foundation called city's 'hidden treasure'

When Keith Burwell introduces himself to business leaders as the new president of the Toledo Community Foundation, he is asked frequently what the foundation does, even though it has been around since 1973, manages 325 funds, has $100 million in assets, and awards $6 million a year in grants to nonprofit groups.

"It's almost the bulwark or the backbone of the philanthropic community in Toledo," Mr. Burwell said yesterday during a taping of The Editors television program. "But it's that hidden treasure."

Mr. Burwell, former executive vice president of the Triangle Community Foundation in North Carolina, and Chuck Stocking, a Toledo Community Foundation board member, were questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade.

The Editors will be broadcast at 8:30 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

Mr. Stocking called the foundation a "facilitating organization." Mr. Burwell likened the foundation to a charitable savings account for the community." An individual, a family, or a business creates a fund within the foundation, and foundation works out, with the donors, a cycle of giving to not-for-profit groups "that will not just last one year, but in perpetuity," Mr. Burwell said.

The men described the community foundation as complementing such agencies as the United Way of Greater Toledo, not as competing with them for money. Mr. Stocking said the community foundation and the United Way are collaborating on a project called "capacity building," in which they help not-for-profit groups become more efficient and strengthen their governing boards.

A mission of the community foundation is to promote philanthropy overall, Mr. Burwell said, "and in the end, that means everybody benefits."

The Toledo Community Foundation has helped communities establish their own foundations, including Bowling Green, Fostoria, and Waterville, and Henry, Ottawa, and Wyandot counties.

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