A Letter from our President
We are excited to present our 2015 Annual Report ‘Liberating the Spirit of Generosity’ containing our stories of success and impact over the past year.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
“This is why I affirm the Community West Foundation as the most innovative philanthropic entity I know of anywhere in the United States when it comes to effectively liberating the spirit of generosity.” - Dr. Stephen G. Post, Ph.D., President of the John Templeton Foundation, Founder of the Institute on Unlimited Love, and Professor of Preventative Medicine and Founding Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Book University, and a worldwide speaker who recently addressed the United Nations on October 15, 2015.
Dr. Stephen G. Post delivered a message of hope and encouragement at our annual meeting and spoke about the growing scientific research that doing good unto others is also good for us! Every act of generosity makes a difference and defines us. This is a beautiful lesson and Dr. Stephen Post’s spirit of generosity is profoundly moving and has inspired thousands of people.
The bold praise quoted above is the theme of this year’s annual report. His profound belief in our work has uplifted me, and our leadership. I reflected on his words and I realized how each of us has the opportunity to practice the true spirit of generosity. We are never more pleasing to God as when we help those most in need. May we continue to be worthy of this powerful praise and continue to be the “most innovative philanthropic entity” generously caring for others.
One of the many reasons for the success of Community West Foundation is the spirit of service exemplified by the leadership of the Board of Directors, our superb ambassadors, who share their commitment, dedication and expertise. And, it is exemplified in the service of the Chair of the Board, William Baker, for all he has helped us to accomplish in his three years as Chairman. There isn’t a part of the Foundation that Bill Baker has not touched and no part that has not improved, and his significant contributions shine brightly on these pages. The Foundation is certainly a better and stronger organization because of his leadership, reflecting his valuable work, and we are delighted that he will continue to serve as Chair of the Investment Committee.
It is also with great admiration that we acknowledge the service of John W. Kemper, Sr., who retired from the Board of Directors. Mr. Kemper joined the Board in 1997 and served as Chair of the Investment Committee. We are proud to have him as a Life Trustee, and his experience will be a valuable resource as he will continue to serve in that capacity.
Community West Foundation lost our beloved Chair Emeritus and Life Trustee, Dr. Ted Castele, who passed away on August 23, 2015. Dr. Ted was a gifted physician, teacher, philanthropist, leader, husband, father, grandfather, extraordinary friend, and Cleveland icon! Throughout his life, he gave to many charities and touched countless lives, a tribute to the magnanimous spirit of Dr. Ted. We miss him and deeply appreciate all the work he did for our community through his great leadership and support of the Foundation.
Imbued by the spirit of service of our Board of Directors, we are proud to announce that joining us in our commitment to the community are: Mark E. Bacon, Vicki B. Foster, and George D. Miller. Thank you to these leaders for answering the highest call of service to our Foundation and community. We look forward to a new influx of energy, creativity and wisdom.
The spirit of philanthropy is demonstrated by our Legacy Society Members who have made a commitment to care for the future of our community through a major or planned gift. Each year we hold a special dinner to pay tribute to our Legacy Members, a premier celebration of philanthropy. At the 2015 dinner we presented our most prestigious philanthropic award, The Art of Caring, to Dr. James and Lois Magisano. This award, by its very name, represents the wonderful qualities that make the Magisanos’ lives worthy of admiration – their generosity, their ability to inspire, and their desire to make a difference in our community.
Serving the needs of our community is the most important work of the Community West Foundation, and in 2015 we shared $3,273,000 in grants to help our homeless, hungry and hurting neighbors. The spirit of hope is a precious gift delivered by the agencies we fund who deserve our special praise for ensuring that the needs of men, women, children, families, and seniors are met. With our grants, we can enable more people to find the assistance, support, and spirit of hope that has not been available to them before.
Our joint collaboration with the Generation Foundation, founded by Peter Ranney in 1997, demonstrates a spirit of entrepreneurship with the creation of The Generation Fund at Community West. The goal of the Generation Fund is to promote economic growth in Greater Cleveland by focusing on generating viable employment opportunities for the economically disadvantaged. The collective energies and resources of our organizations will provide an economic spark needed for innovative future growth of our communities. We are especially thankful for Peter Ranney’s trust and confidence in our work, and his great spirit of entrepreneurship to further fuel innovation.
We are particularly moved by the plight of the homeless, and our SocksPlus initiative has become the Foundation’s important program to provide for those who lack basic necessities. Joining our efforts to help those in need are the many “tribes,” people that have come together to support the homeless through our SocksPlus program. I have never seen so many people wanting to be present to the poor and homeless. I am deeply moved by the many creative ways people are showing loving kindness to our neighbors suffering the most by helping with SocksPlus. Read the many stories of the special spirit of sharing that fill us with awe and gratitude, and join the campaign and create a model for partnership with our supporters. You can help innovate new ideas for support.
Community West Foundation holds many special events and benefits that offer opportunities to support programs and services at Fairview and Lutheran Hospitals. Many generous and caring people offer their wonderful support and spirit of goodwill, a genuine sign of their efforts to care for the health and well being of others. Nothing brings goodwill and friendship like a gala, golf outing, dinner, raffle and fun time.
We extend our spirit of appreciation to our many supporters that helped us to raise $4.3 million in 2015. What makes our donors so exceptional is their spirit of giving. Many of you offered generous financial donations, supported initiatives, participated in special events, and even hosted your own! Your support enables us to focus our resources where they are needed most. When we are touched by His Divine Love, our lives take new meaning. This is a powerful call not just to action, but innovation to be more and to do more for others. This is our time to shine our light and Illuminate Hope.
In Sincere Appreciation,
David T. Dombrowiak
President and CEO