Bridging the Gap Between Donor and Nonprofits

YouthBridge Community Foundation Takes the Guesswork Out of Charitable Giving and Creating a Legacy

Charitable-minded individuals want to help those less fortunate while supporting causes dear to their hearts.

YouthBridge Community Foundation, 12977 N. Forty Drive, guides individuals and companies through the charitable giving process that will not only provide instant gratification but last long after they have left this earth.

The foundation started in 1877 as the General Protestant Children’s Home on Natural Bridge Road.

The last child left the orphanage in 2005 due to changes in the model care of children, and YouthBridge transitioned from its role as a direct-care provider to a community foundation with a focus on children and youth.

“We serve as the bridge between community resources and community need focused on children and youth,” says Chief Executive Officer Mike Howard. “So we partner with individual and community donors on how to turn their passions into philanthropy and incorporate their philanthropy into their wealth management plan.

“We help them find the nonprofit in their community who are doing the best work that family wants to support,” he says.

When clients approach YouthBridge and want advice on charitable giving, the foundation helps guide them on the various ways this can be done, and sometimes, it involves a bit of psychology.

“We have two areas of focus,” Howard says. “One is the donor relationship to help them find the nonprofit that fits their area of interest."

“On the other side, we work directly with nonprofits and provide consulting advice on how to be more successful and sustainable,” he says. “We call it ‘capacity building,’ where we help them become stronger so they have a greater capacity to serve more people in the community.”

Cindy Blake, YouthBridge business development officer, said if clients want to involve their family and build a legacy, they can open a family foundation.

“We offer family fund administration, and that would involve meeting with them and helping with their giving and where it should go,” she says.

Many times, people want to do the right thing but are not quite sure how to do it or where to invest their money, and this is where psychology enters the picture.

Howard took a deck of cards on which were written some questions, and began to spread them on his desk.

“When family comes in, we start with a conversation, and ask questions,” he says, picking up a card, and reading, “What motivates you?”

He picks up another and reads, “If you could give to anything, what that would be?”

Another asks, “What makes you happy? What makes you sad?”

“It’s really about us doing a bit of psychology and counseling,” he says. “We give them the opportunity to be self-reflective.”

Companies can put in money for tax purposes and build it like a 401(k) for charitable purposes.

“We have a committee who reviews different organizations for the funds; we give the clients the information, and they tell us where they want their money to go,” Howard says.

To honor the mission of partnering with donors around the sustainability of nonprofits, YouthBridge provides grants to child or youth-serving organizations that are regularly supported by the clients.

“One of our grant programs is the Endowment Building Matching Funds Program,” Blake says. “If a nonprofit starts an endowment with us that is 50% youth-related, they may be eligible to receive 50% matching funds on the first $25,000 in deposits”

Blake says that companies and individuals can also buy gift cards (instead of hams or wine!) for friends and clients who can then give them to the charity of their choice.

For more information on YouthBridge, call 314.396.7627 or visit

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