In April 2021, a donor approached FCFP’s director of philanthropy, Jason McCahan, with a bold idea.
The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, wanted to find an ongoing way to support a beloved local organization—the Lycoming County United Way, which raises vital funds for area nonprofits. Further, the donor wanted to offer a match of $250,000 in an effort to spur others to give.
So Jason designed a philanthropic program to meet these goals, which took shape as a donor challenge of sorts:
FCFP would work to recruit 10 individuals or couples to open 10 new funds, each requiring a $25,000 minimum gift. All of the funds would be designated to support Lycoming County United Way. And together with the generous match, the money would establish an endowment for the nonprofit.
Bill Martin has a long and committed history in Lycoming County. After retiring from his career in leadership at Pennsylvania College of Technology, he spent around a decade on the Lycoming County United Way board, serving a term as president. He’s a strong supporter of the organization’s mission, a past collaborator with FCFP, and a firm believer in planned giving for nonprofits.
It was a pretty quick decision for me,” Bill says. “I said, ‘Hey, I can’t not be a part of this.’ I knew it would make a dent in addressing operational needs at United Way and allow more of the organization’s annual campaign contributions to go to needs expressed by various agencies.
These are human services agencies that, according to Bill, serve as much as a quarter of the Lycoming County population—people facing homelessness, struggling with addiction, seeking prenatal care.
In fact, FCFP and United Way are like-hearted organizations, working from different angles to support a wide swath of community needs. FCFP works on the “giving” side, helping donors direct their money in meaningful ways; United Way works on the “serving” side, channeling funds to programs throughout the county. Together, we make a good pair.
Bill signed on, and over the course of a year, others followed. In July 2022, FCFP had reached its goal of 10 donors. When Jason told the match donor, they said, “Wow, that really worked. What if I give you another $250,000?”
When this second match is met, FCFP will have secured a million-dollar endowment for Lycoming County United Way, amounting to around $40,000 of annual recurring funding for the organization. Over time, as the endowment grows, so will the revenue.
This movement of generosity shows the impact of one selfless gesture, and then another, and another. So ask yourself: What acts of generosity, big or small, might you spark today?