Creating A Strong Foundation

One sorority is taking investing in their community seriously

Declaration of Financial Empowerment: to use a portion of my personal wealth to strength my community.

We encourage other organizations to follow the lead of the Chicago chapter of the AKAs and maximize the impact of philanthropic efforts. Here are a few tips to help you and your organization get started:

An existing relationship between one of the members of the AKAs and the Chicago Community Trust led to the partnership. Organizations should realize the strength of the network within their membership, especially if members are professionals or entrepreneurs.

To start a foundation, you will need to get a not-for-profit status. This involves filing the appropriate paperwork with your state attorney general’s office, though rules vary state to state. Contact an attorney to make sure the process is handled properly. A member of the AKAs, Donna Valee Salone, is an attorney and took care of the initial filing and updating of the records.

The AKAs already had a successful track record of active community involvement, which made them a very attractive partner for the Trust.

While Community Trust partners with a variety of nonprofit organizations that give more than $40 million to charities annually, traditionally there have been few relationships with minority organizations or individuals, explains Mari Ex, vice president of external relations for Community Trust. In recent years, the Trust has worked successfully in building relationships with larger Chicago-area black churches. The Trust is actively working toward attracting younger African American philanthropists as well.

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