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Public session organised in Mumbai on the advantages of community foundation
Numbering almost 1,700 globally, Community Foundations are considered the fastest growing form of philanthropy. On the occasion of community foundations completing 100 years, the Bombay Community Public Trust (BCPT) and HelpYourNGO hosted a public session on 'The Community Foundation Advantage'. Richard Bale, Consul General of Canada was the guest of honor for the event.
Bibi Patel, Vice-President of the Community Foundation of Ottawa, Canada in her lecture highlighted the advantages offered by a community foundation. Patel is an eminent personality in the field of community foundation, relations and donor engagement and is committed to bridging the private and non-profit worlds in order to optimize the assets of sectors of a community for the good of its citizens.

"Community Foundation is an autonomous body which reports to their board and nobody else. Beauty of Community Foundation is that we work so closely with out donor that we are able to help them meet any philanthropic or chargeable objectives even as far as away as India." Patel added.

Session proved to be a very good platform for knowledge sharing on why the need of Community foundations is being felt. The session emphasized on the history of the community foundation movement, reasons why people choose to give through community foundations, how community foundations work and examples of how community foundations are expanding and working with professionals. Community foundations don't fundraise in any usual sense. The major focus is planned giving, gifts of assets rather than income.

Speaking on this occasion, Harsha Parekh, Executive Trustee - BCPT said, "With the recent amendment of the New Companies Act, there exists huge opportunities for corporates to promote a range of social, environmental causes in the country. Community Foundations seems to me a very good option for donor engagement. We can enhance the capacity of NGOs by giving them access to funds that have enabled them to implement projects. At the same time, we can enhance the capacity of donors by identifying projects and NGOs to whom they can channel their resources and also help private charities and trusts through effective advising on the management of their funds as well as managing their donations for specific activities."

Advantages offered by a community foundation are manifold, be it nurturing philanthropy, engaging donors, leveraging in-depth knowledge of their communities or convening leadership tables. Community foundations have in-depth information on local needs and non-profit organizations. Since the first community foundation which was set up in USA in 1914 community foundations now offer an array of charitable vehicles meeting the needs of anyone wanting to make a difference.

The Bombay Community Public Trust (BCPT) was set up in July 1991 as the first Community Foundation in India. By then, there were models of successful Community Trusts which could be emulated. Community Trusts are funding intermediaries which enable people to pool their resources and channel them to solving the civic problems of a defined area - a city.

BCPT's area of operations includes territories falling within the boundaries laid down by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). 

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