The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties was founded in 1972 by Palm Beach residents Winsome and Michael McIntosh.
Their vision has led our Community Foundation to become one of the largest in Florida, and we have provided millions in grants in scholarships over our history.Their goal was to build a charitable endowment that would meet the changing needs of the community.
Today, we are led by Danita D. Nias. The Board of Directors appointed Nias to the helm in March of 2021.
History of the Community Foundation
1972 - Visionary Palm Beach residents Winsome and Michael McIntosh establish the Palm Beach County Community Foundation with a $50,000 endowment in 1972. Their goal was to build a charitable endowment that would meet the changing needs of the community.
1979 - The Foundation receives its first bequest when West Palm Beach resident, Ilse Klassen, leaves $244,000 from her estate. The Ilse Klassen Fund has granted almost $1 million in grants to local nonprofits, a wonderful testament to the power of endowment.
1983 - The first memorial scholarship fund is established by Jupiter residents Larue and Donald Dahlberg in memory of their son, Don Dahlberg. Today, the Community Foundation is one of the largest providers of scholarships in Palm Beach and Martin counties.
1991 - Boca Raton resident Anna Marie Graber Martens leaves a $15 million bequest to the Community Foundation, doubling its assets with the largest gift in its history to date. This gift allows the Foundation to expand its service area to incorporate Martin County and changes its name to reflect its geographic commitment.
1998 - The Foundation receives a historic $25 million gift from Mary and Robert Pew to improve public education for economically disadvantaged children in the community. This gift establishes our first supporting organization.
2000 - The Foundation breaks ground on their new 30,000 sq. ft. building in Downtown West Palm Beach. The building opened in 2002 and was named the Center for Philanthropy in 2012.
2004 - The John T. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund is established with a $20 million gift to address the arts, education, environment and community development.
2009 - The Foundation launches an unprecedented partnership with its donors and fund holders to raise $1.3 million through the Safety Net Challenge that provided critical funds to local nonprofits following the country’s financial crisis.
2009 - Frustrated by the lack of a coordinated response to hunger issues and aware that local needs were growing beyond the availability of local services, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties launches the Alleviate Hunger initiative, a collaborative effort to focus on improving access to and distribution of food for those most in need. This effort leads to the creation of the Palm Beach County Food Bank in 2012 – a collaboration with six other funders to collect and distribute food to more than 85 agencies.
2012 - The Palm Beach County Food Bank incorporates and absorbs a locally-led Community Food Truck Operation. In its first full year of operation, the Food Bank distributed more than 4 million pounds of food – valued at $6.2 million— to help feed more than 80,000 hungry residents.
2013 - The Community Foundation partners with the Mary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund and the Quantum Foundation to launch an initiative to transform education in Palm Beach County by providing over $1 million in grants. The Community Foundation’s support represents the largest grant in its history -- $661,203 over a two-year period to build a world-class educational program focused on STEM curriculum with the Palm Beach County School District and the University of Florida.
2014 - The Foundation partners with United Way of Palm Beach County, United Way of Martin County and the Community Foundation of Martin County for three years to host the Great Give, 24-hour online giving day designed to raise millions of dollars in support for local nonprofits in a single day.
2018 - The Community Foundation launches a national civic engagement initiative called On the Table, inviting 4,000 residents to small mealtime conversations to discuss pressing community issues and brainstorm solutions.