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Railroad museum, Knight Foundation set new record at Akron Community Foundation

Published: April 17, 2014 2:16 AM

AKRON, Ohio – Akron Community Foundation ended its fiscal year on March 31 by establishing two record-setting funds. The Northern Ohio Railway Museum Endowment Fund and the Robert W. Briggs Fund became the 40th and 41st funds established during the community foundation’s fiscal year of April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014, breaking the community foundation’s previous record of 40 new funds started in fiscal year 2012.

The Northern Ohio Railway Museum Endowment Fund will support the museum’s current and long-term operations. The Robert W. Briggs Fund was established by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in honor of Akron attorney Robert Briggs, the Knight Foundation’s outgoing board chair whose 12-year board term ended last month.

The Knight Foundation gifted Briggs with $100,000 to the charity of his choice, but rather than using his gift for one nonprofit, he established a donor-advised fund at Akron Community Foundation. With it, he will make grants over time to many different organizations. Briggs said he was “overwhelmed by the gesture.”

“Being a former board chair of the community foundation myself, I thought (a donor-advised fund) was an excellent idea,” Briggs said. “I look forward to using this fund primarily to help grassroots organizations that I’m fond of. I’ve seen the leverage these organizations can have, and I want to help them grow.”

Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president and CEO, said the gift was fitting of the man who led the organization’s board during a transformative period. “As chair of the board, Rob helped recruit a significantly new board, and (he) helped me both in the management of the foundation’s assets during a serious downturn in the financial markets, and in responding to changes in our communities in journalism and the arts. He leaves with the respect and affection of the entire board.”

The Robert W. Briggs Fund joins Akron Community Foundation’s 136 other donor-advised funds. To date, nearly a dozen charitable funds have been established at the community foundation by organizations to honor outgoing executives and board leaders. Through those funds, the honorees are able to support their favorite causes and charities in their name, both now and forever. For more information about establishing a fund at Akron Community Foundation, visit www.akroncf.org/GivingYourWay. To give to the Robert W. Briggs Fund, visit www.akroncf.org/give/BriggsFund or, to give to the Northern Ohio Railway Museum Endowment Fund, visit www.akroncf.org/give/RailwayMuseumFund.

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