Brian Smith

co-CEO, Heritage Financial Group

Giving Through ECCF

Brian Smith understands the value of a community foundation. Although he admits that at first he didn’t really understand the benefits of donors investing their money through ECCF, rather than giving to a specific charity.

“Once I became involved in social service’s projects and saw how it worked, then I understood; I ‘got it’,” Smith says.                             

Now he’s a strong advocate and encourages others to invest through the ECCF. Why? Because a donor’s contribution focuses on a need in the community; at the same time, that gift’s principal is invested, protected, then grouped with others’ contributions for a greater return. “There’s such fiscal discipline in making an investment through ECCF. The protection is phenomenal,” Smith says.

Once ECCF’s Grant Committee learns needs emerging throughout the County, “they’re able to quickly assess those needs, then channel donor-advised funds where they are most effective,” he says.

“For example, food distribution points were set up during the past two years when so many families were struggling during the recession that hit our area so hard. What more basic need is there than food? That struck a chord with me.” Plus, there’s no better way to help the community than to give an end-of-life gift, according to, Smith.

“Going forward, the ECCF can continue to take a leadership role in collaborating with NFP agencies and churches to achieve our donors’ goals. ECCF is a known entity in our community and known for being effective in helping. Our donors appreciate that.”

Catherine Wells-Bentz