NONPROFIT SPOTLIGHT: Celebrating 20 Years, The Community Foundation SLO County Rings in National Philanthropy Month

by: Mary Verdin

In 1998, Titanic swept the Oscars after stealing our hearts, Europe adopted the Euro as its official currency, and pagers had yet to putter out of our daily existence. That was also the year that an engaged group of community-minded leaders set out to revitalize San Luis Obispo County armed with a vision and a shared passion for community stewardship.

Together, they established The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County (CFSLOC), a countywide enduring source of charitable funds for supporting every aspect of the community. Now marking its 20th year, the organization has awarded over $30 million in philanthropic gifts in the form of nearly 1,000 scholarships and 4,800 grants in every area from the arts to the zoo., with 92% of those funds staying within SLO County. The organization continues to preserve the legacy of its founders and make a meaningful impact on lives across the region two decades later.

The Foundation celebrated “Twenty Years of Impact” on October 28 at Santa Margarita Ranch and recognized the difference that has been made since 1998 with the help and support of donors. The landmark event was attended by current Board President and Verdin’s own Mary Verdin, who said, “The beauty of the Foundation is its adaptability to the diverse interests of the community and donors. It allows funds to be allocated in enduring ways that best mirror the needs of our area. And it’s an endowed source of support, meaning it will be here forever. ”

Evidence of the Community Foundation’s contributions is ubiquitous around the Central Coast. From support for basic needs like food and shelter to improved accessibility for people with disabilities, to need-based scholarships for prospective college applicants, to grants targeted toward women’s empowerment and overcoming gender inequity - the common thread is that these resources are all made possible by the generosity of the Community Foundation and its remarkable donors.

As November kicks off National Philanthropy Month, we look forward to hearing the new inspiring stories that emerge as the Community Foundation furthers its mission and support of our community. Congratulations to the Community Foundation on 20 amazing years!

To learn more about Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, visit: or contact (805) 543-2323.

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