The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania’s roots go back nearly a century to the birth of the community foundation movement. In 1914, Frederick H. Goff, a banker and lawyer in Cleveland, created the concept of a community trust in which wealthy philanthropists would pool and invest their charitable resources creating a permanent endowment to benefit their community in perpetuity. Born in a reformist era, the community foundation idea spread rapidly throughout the U.S. and then the world. Others recognized the importance of a trust that would live on forever and appreciated the flexibility a trust afforded. For example, gifts that were designated to benefit an orphanage could be redirected to other children’s causes, should the orphanage close.
In 1916, just two years after the inception of the Cleveland Foundation, a group of bankers founded the Williamsport Foundation—the first community foundation in Pennsylvania—with just $33 in donations. Our young foundation made its first grants in 1930 in the depths of the Great Depression. By the beginning of the 21st Century, the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation held nearly $50 million in assets. But our wealth could also be measured in experience and professional management, which the Board of Directors wanted to share with neighboring communities. They began reaching out to other communities that wanted to grow their own foundations.
In 2004, First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania was created as a regional foundation and the Williamsport Lycoming Community Foundation was designated as our founding affiliate. Soon after, the Danville Area Community Foundation and the Union County Community Foundation joined in partnership with the FCFP. Today we serve Northcentral Pennsylvania while focusing our efforts in Lycoming, Montour and Union Counties. We also reach into Bradford, Clinton, Columbia, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan and Tioga Counties through donors and their geographic area funds and scholarships.