Three Keys to the Community Foundation’s Success

Former Board Chair Frank Brogan Shares How the Foundation Overcame Early Hurdles

April 16, 2024
Former Board Chair Frank Brogan shares stories about the Community Foundation's early challenges at the Former Board Member Luncheon on April 11, 2024.

Forty years ago, Ohio transplants Libby and Jack Deinhardt walked into attorney Frank Brogan’s office looking for legal help launching a community foundation in Broward County.

Frank, who had been involved with local nonprofits in the past, offered to lend his legal expertise to this new effort to champion local philanthropy. That was all Libby and Jack needed to hear.

“The next day ... Libby dropped off a three-binder treatise on legal and tax issues for community foundations and off we went,” Frank said. “I kept that book on my shelf and used it many times.”

That year, Libby and Jack and a small-but-growing group of early supporters launched what would become the Community Foundation of Broward.

Through the decades, Frank has remained a dedicated champion for the Community Foundation, offering legal insights, serving as a Board Member and Board Chair, leading the Community Foundation’s Professional Advisor Council and becoming a Fundholder.

At our Former Board Members Luncheon on April 11, Frank took us on a walk down memory lane, sharing stories about the early struggles to raise awareness and build support for the Community Foundation.

So how did we become the Community Foundation we know today? Frank said back in the early days there were three big things that made it possible for the Community Foundation to succeed.

  • Focusing on building endowment and collaborating with professional advisors – Frank said Libby would go anywhere to meet with anyone, especially professional advisors, to spread the word about the new Community Foundation. Her message was, we’re here to grow endowed philanthropic resources so we can help local nonprofits, not compete with them. “At that time, this was the largest metropolitan area in the country without a community foundation,” Frank said. “It wasn’t immediate acceptance. It was a hard thing to get off the ground.”
  • Leading the way on HIV/AIDS prevention education – By championing HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention education in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, Frank said the Community Foundation showed “we’re not afraid to take a position … because it is an issue in our community and we need to be there for the community.” The Community Foundation received $1 million in a matching grants program through the National AIDS Fund. “It opened up a lot of eyes in the community at the time that we could really be something that wasn’t otherwise available in the community,” he said.
  • Winning a challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation – After undergoing a rigorous, competitive application process, the Community Foundation was one of just six community foundations in the nation to receive an $11 million endowment challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation. The matching grants program encouraged smaller nonprofits to raise money toward building endowments of their own. The Community Foundation’s push to win the Kresge grant included rallying community support, getting Board members more involved in fundraising and showing The Kresge Foundation that the Community Foundation could make a lasting difference. “We could go out and say to (nonprofits), ‘You are going to benefit from us,’” Frank said about the matching grants endowment challenge. “That was unheard of here. …It was a big deal.”

Now, 40 years after Frank’s first conversation with Libby and Jack, the fledgling organization that started its first charitable fund with a $5,000 gift has grown into a powerful force for good with more than 530 charitable funds and $260 million+ in assets.

“That’s a very good 40-year track record,” Frank said. “It’s just been a wonderful, wonderful experience.”

Learn more about Community Foundation founders, Libby and Jack Deinhardt.

Learn more about the Community Foundation’s 40th Anniversary.

Let's Talk!

Contact the Community Foundation of Broward at or 954-761-9503.

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