January 10 2017 • Rachel Calderon
Richard T. Hurt, more commonly known as “Rick,” is one of the most respected voices for estate planning in Central Florida. In his over 35 years of practice, he has earned the respect of his clients helping them with their estate planning needs. His devotion to his clients shows through his devotion to his community.
The Beginning of Central Florida Foundation
In the early 90s, Rick had a client who wanted to create a scholarship fund, but there was no vehicle to accomplish it. At the same time, other groups like the Planned Giving Council began to discuss the benefits a community foundation could have on the community. Other area foundations also realized how it could encourage further philanthropy in the region.
Over 25 years ago Rick and other local colleagues agreed that Central Florida was missing out on a substantial asset for the area – a community foundation. It would make giving back easier for clients needing to make a tax conscious decision and more importantly, it could serve as an anchor for the community.
In 1992, the group became serious about organizing the entity that would become Central Florida Foundation. The idea of a community foundation caught on and the community responded. Ideas began bubbling up, planning conversations started, momentum started to catch on, breakfast gathering dates marked the calendar and conversations began at homes and local events about what it would take to establish a community foundation.
This flurry of activity was the beginning of the trusted philanthropic home that serves as a place to help people invest in their community. The meetings convened the business community, local philanthropists and representatives from the Miami-Dade Community Foundation, now Miami Foundation, and Atlanta Community Foundation to hear how Miami and Atlanta benefited from their community foundation. Local banks, businesses, foundations and individuals saw Rick’s vision and were on board immediately to contribute. When all was said and done, $1.2 million was raised.
The next step was to hire an executive director to get the Foundation up and running. Initially, Rick housed the Foundation in his firm’s office and it was a great starting place to introduce it to the community. He served as the first board chairman as the organization began learning, establishing committees, putting policies in place and more.
Central Florida Foundation (CFF) began as a handful of people with a good idea to benefit the community and this characteristic of a community convener around new ideas is personified even now. Often times, this begins with a few people that have a passion and put their heads together in the name of community. The most memorable part of the process for Rick was the number of institutions that gave money without knowing what would happen, but they trusted the community partners involved.
The Foundation began to grow and connect people across the region working on issues that faced our community. During this time, Rick began to see that many of his clients had charitable goals but not enough assets available to establish and operate a private foundation. Central Florida Foundation became a community minded, cost effective and simple solution for his clients.
The original investment has paid off today. To date, Central Florida Foundation has invested more than $40 million in the community to support human services, health, the environment, children, arts and so much more that makes Central Florida a great place to live.
“Seeing the growth of the Foundation today astounds everyone and how we did it together.”
Rick said back when he and his peers were dreaming about a community foundation, he could have never imagined the collaborations that have been possible because of Central Florida Foundation.
The Foundation has been a convenor across business, governments and nonprofits to help groups work together in ways that might not have been initially possible like Parramore Kidz Zone, Homeless Impact Fund, Entrepreneurs in Action, 100 Women Strong, Venture Philanthropists and many other initiatives to improve Central Florida.
Central Florida Foundation Goes Beyond its Role as a Tax Planning Vehicle
As one of the first fund holders at Central Florida Foundation, Rick believes it is important to ensure the Foundation has a base of unrestricted funds to meet unanticipated and ever-changing community needs.
“It gives the community flexibility,” he says.
Thanks to unrestricted funds established by generous individuals, Central Florida Foundation has been able to support a variety of community needs across the social sectors, all helping to make Central Florida a better place to live.
Rick stresses how important it is to support the Foundation and all that it provides to our community through planned giving – like including CFF in a will or trust.
Rick’s best advice for professional advisors: “You need to know all of the ways Central Florida Foundation can help your clients.” CFF provides a variety of options in lieu of a private foundation depending on the desired level of control of the donor.
When a client mentions supporting their local community, Rick always thinks of Central Florida Foundation first. CFF is a community resource that helps people invest personally in what matters most to them and helps make giving simple.
Working with Central Florida Foundation is a win-win situation. The clients receive the tax benefit and the community is a better place because of it.
“It’s a tool for clients to accomplish their charitable goals and impact the community at the same time. It just makes sense,” says Rick.