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Back to Archives | Back to March 2009 Contents 

IACP Foundation: Donor's Choice: Philanthropy and Fund-Raising in a Challenging Economy

By Russell B. Laine, Chief of Police, Algonquin, Illinois; Vice Chair, IACP Foundation; and IACP President

s the first quarter of 2009 draws to a close and tax time approaches, U.S. taxpayers are likely casting another critical glance at their personal finances.

Many people have faced fiscal challenges, such as a layoff or a profound loss in investments, over the last 12 to 18 months. However, despite these significant difficulties, an important part of many families’ spending plans for each year still includes donating to a favorite nonprofit group.

The IACP Foundation relies on a variety of sound and strategic fund-raising practices to support its programs and initiatives, and the IACP membership plays an important role in that plan. In fact, members may have seen the foundation’s recent annual appeal that accompanied the association’s dues renewal process. Many may not think their gifts to the IACP Foundation make a difference, but this column describes what one contribution combined with another can really mean.

Philanthropic Facts

Many readers may be new to the world of charitable giving, or perhaps there are many who have been active contributors to a variety of causes for years. But even the most seasoned advocate of philanthropy may be surprised to learn that the majority of money donated every year to charities and other nonprofits comes not from big companies, not from affluent foundations, and not from the ultrawealthy—but from individuals.

According to the Giving USA Foundation, which reports on national trends in charitable contributions, U.S. residents gave more than $295 billion to charity in 2006, and over 75 percent of that total, over $220 billion, came from individual donors. And many of those individuals are far from wealthy: about 65 percent of U.S. families whose combined household income is $100,000 or less gave to charity.1

Reasons to Give

Making a charitable contribution is a very personal decision. Whether donating just a dollar per paycheck to an organization or becoming a major donor to a favorite charity, donors usually have a specific motivation behind a gift.

Most people choose to donate to a particular group simply because they identify with the stated cause or mission of the institution. Events or issues that touch people personally, at a very basic and compelling level, often determine the recipient of their gifts.

For example, families affected by a serious illness often choose to take up a charitable cause that has as its goal the eradication or the cure of that disease. When they make a contribution, they feel that their donation is especially meaningful. Others may have a deep appreciation for a cause, such as the promotion of animal rights or the preservation of the environment. When they participate in a rally or a community event, their involvement is both individually and globally significant.

Fund-Raising and the Foundation

This kind of connection and clear identification with a cause is important for the IACP Foundation as the board and the staff move forward with both fund-raising and programmatic efforts that promote the foundation’s commitment to advancing professional policing through leadership, scholarship, and fellowship.

The IACP Foundation works for law enforcement officers, their agencies, and their communities by developing and funding programs like the Survivors’ Education Law Enforcement Trust (SELECT), professional development opportunities, adult educational scholarships, leadership instruction, and no-cost training tools.

For the foundation to expand its offering of projects, and the number of law enforcement officers and families who benefit from them, it is critical to ensure that the foundation’s initiatives remain timely, relevant, and meaningful to its audience.

Corporate partners, major donors, and individuals give to the foundation because the programs meet a real need—because they directly touch the lives of someone in the law enforcement family. Whether giving surviving children of fallen officers the foundation’s SELECT scholarships or affording newly promoted captains the opportunity to attend command-level training at no cost to their agencies, the IACP Foundation is proud to give back to the law enforcement community by providing support that really makes a difference.

With Thanks

The IACP Foundation is grateful for each and every gift received, and the faithful stewardship of every donation is of paramount importance. Patrons of the foundation can rest assured that their gifts are administered with transparency, integrity, and the annual oversight of external auditors. A contribution to the IACP Foundation is truly an investment in leadership, scholarship, and the global fellowship of law enforcement professionals. ■


1Giving USA Foundation, “U.S. Charitable Giving Reaches $295.02 Billion in 2006: Third Straight Year of Growth Fueled in Part by ‘Mega-Gifts,’ Foundations,” press release, June 25, 2007, (accessed February 10, 2009).

The IACP Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization established to solicit, receive, administer, and expend funds for law enforcement–related charitable and educational purposes. Donations may be tax deductible; please check with your personal tax adviser. The foundation’s federal tax ID number is 54-1576762.



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVII, no. 3, March 2009. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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