Community Foundations make an impact during holidays and beyond: Kellie Burns-Franco

As we enter this holiday season, many people will give thanks and look for meaningful ways to give back. When you support philanthropy, you invest in our community's future and generations to come.

Last week, the Paso del Norte Community Foundation joined National Community Foundation Week and National Philanthropy Day nationwide celebration. When you give through a community foundation, you ensure your gift is used in a way that will leave a lasting impact.

The Paso del Norte Community Foundation was established in 2013 to support the philanthropic goals of individuals, families, corporations, foundations, and nonprofits in the Paso del Norte Region. These goals include improving health, education, social services, economic development, arts, environment, and quality of life for our binational, tri-state region. PdNCF is a trusted organization with the ability to match donors’ interests with the community’s emerging needs.

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In addition to supporting charitable giving, the PdNCF also supports community initiatives, such as the Paso del Norte Trails, creates response funds during crisis times, and promotes nonprofits' growth through events, such as El Paso Giving Day.

Officials with the Paso del Norte Foundation kicked off El Paso Giving Day by handing out swag bags and piñatas Oct. 7, 2020, in Downtown El Paso.
Officials with the Paso del Norte Foundation kicked off El Paso Giving Day by handing out swag bags and piñatas Oct. 7, 2020, in Downtown El Paso.

El Paso Giving Day, organized by PdNCF, recently helped raise more than $1.2 million through small and large donations and several generous matching contributions from local businesses and corporations like Helen of Troy and Walmart. Giving Day was founded in 2016 to shine a light on the essential work of nonprofit organizations and ignite the spirit of giving in our community. Since then, El Paso Giving Day has raised nearly $6 million from thousands of donors for over 200 nonprofit organizations.

El Pasoans are passionate individuals who want to make our community shine. The Paso del Norte Community Foundation has been there to help these individuals create designated funds and agency funds under our umbrella. Funds, such as the El Paso Film Festival and Femme Frontera, trust us to provide the backend support needed for their funds to grow so that they can continue to help make local filmmakers’ dreams a reality.

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For those looking to leave a legacy in our community, we can assist in creating donor-advised funds such as family foundations, memorial funds, and scholarships. These donor-advised funds allow individuals to focus on their philanthropic goals while receiving administrative support and the maximum tax benefit for charitable giving.

We continue to support our Community of Philanthropy through nonprofit capacity building like our Reimagine! Nonprofit Conference. This conference focuses on bringing our community’s nonprofit organizations together to think, develop and grow with each other and with national subject matter experts.

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The Community Foundation partnered with the City and County of El Paso to continue to help provide financial assistance to people affected economically by the COVID-19 pandemic who are at risk of eviction or homelessness. EP Rent Help has distributed millions of dollars in government aid, in some cases paying more than a year’s worth of rent for eligible applicants and has provided rental assistance to over 2,500 people. These funds will continue to be distributed as long as they are available and a need exists.

We immediately created the Victims Relief Fund in the wake of the Aug. 3 tragedy. Millions of dollars poured in to help the victims and their families recover. We then partnered with other local organizations to form One Fund to help transparently distribute more than $11 million to all 355 victims and their families.

Past few years have been a time of hardship and hope; through it all, our Community of Philanthropy has continued to be a stabilizing and inspiring force.

On behalf of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation team and our board of directors, we want to thank all of you for your continued support, generosity and investment in our community. We all have many reasons to be thankful this year as our community continues to show our resilience and ability to come together during times of need.

If you are interested in joining our community of philanthropy and learning more about how you can support the great work happening in our region, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Kellie Burns-Franco is the community and donor outreach manager for the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Community Foundations make an impact: Kellie Burns-Franco