Building on a strong foundation
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As president of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation (CMCF), part of Steve Joul’s job is to serve as a liaison between the Foundation, its donors and the community. That job has brought him into close collaboration with St. Cloud State, which he sees as critical to the continued vitality of the region, especially during challenging economic times.
Like other community foundations, the CMCF manages “donor-advised” funds and serves as a conduit between individual philanthropists and the organizations they wish to support. “Quite often the donor has a preference already, and then we simply help them reach their charitable goals,” explained Joul. If they’re uncertain about where to make their gifts, Joul asks them what has touched them and made a difference in their lives. Quite often, he said, the answer is St. Cloud State.
In 2007 alone, the University received $260,000 from CMCF donor-advised funds for scholarships, special projects such as the Miller Learning Resources Center and ongoing support. “SCSU strikes a chord with many people,” explained Joul. “It has a wonderful history, and there are a lot of alumni out there.”
Joul enjoys helping donors support the University because, he says, the Foundation and the University share a common vision of academic-community engagement. “In some college towns, the academic community is in one corner, and the rest of the community is in the other,” said Joul, who’s excited about President Earl H. Potter III’s vision for how the University can serve the greater community. “SCSU is the region’s gateway to the world and it’s at the forefront of new ideas,” said Joul. “The jobs of the future are going to come out of the innovation and creativity of the people of Central Minnesota, and that includes SCSU students and graduates.”
“As the premier institution of higher learning in the area, we offer many opportunities for donors to support students and programs that make Minnesota and our world a better place,” said Eric Kautzman, associate vice president for development at St. Cloud State. “Steve and the rest of the staff at the CMCF do a great job of helping donors, who have given the University more than $2 million to date, make a difference and leave the legacy they envision. They are valuable partners in our efforts to reach out and engage more people in supporting students and programs at St. Cloud State.”