Our History

A Golden Opportunity

More than 50 years ago, the Community Foundation’s founders had a clear vision: to create a charity that would support the ever-changing needs of our communities through philanthropy.

Winsome and Michael McIntosh Winsome and Michael McIntosh

It was 1972. Two Palm Beach residents looked at the needs of a growing, changing community and knew an institution must be put into place to safeguard the wellbeing of the people who would grow to call this burgeoning area home. The idea was that anyone from any circumstance could get the help they needed to thrive and flourish, no matter what adversity the future might bring.

With a $50,000 endowment gift, their plan to form a leading charity for purposeful philanthropy was realized. Their early vision guided our Community Foundation to become one of the largest in Florida, providing millions of dollars in grants and scholarships over our 50-year history.

Board of Governors Wall The Heart of our History

To date, the Foundation has benefitted from the direction of more than 140 of the finest leaders, thinkers, doers and donors across our two counties. Their gifts of abundant time, professional talent and expansive resources furthered our growth and footprint each step into the future. With gratitude we commend their selfless dedication and support of our communities.


Danita Danita R. DeHaney

At this historic milestone, DeHaney is leading the Foundation into its next era as our area’s premier philanthropic partner. Known for her decades of fundraising and relationship-building experience, the Board of Directors appointed DeHaney to the helm in March 2021 to expand the charity’s impact on chronic and current issues. “I’m here to mobilize philanthropists and nonprofit partners to help us build on the Community Foundation’s legacy of ‘giving for good.’ Together, we have the power to help our entire region rise.”

An Historic Loss for the Community
Shannon Sadler Hull

The November 2022 passing of our President Emeritus and the first executive director of the Community Foundation, Shannon Sadler Hull, brought an entire community together in appreciation and reflection of her 30-year tenure of working to uplift others.

In Memoriam: Shannon Sadler Hull
Our History Highlighted
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Winsome and Michael McIntosh establish the Palm Beach County Community Foundation with a $50,000 endowment. Their goal was to build a charitable endowment that would meet the changing needs of the community.

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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.

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Shannon Sadler Hull becomes the first full-time executive director, leading the Community Foundation for 28 years as President and CEO. She retired in 2009, becoming President Emeritus and remained a strong advocate for the Foundation.

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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.

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Boca Raton resident Anna Marie Graber Martens bequeaths $15 million in unrestricted funds, doubling the Foundation’s assets at the time and expanding it into Martin County. Her gift inspires the Foundation to change its name to reflect its total geographic operating area.

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Mary and Robert Pew contribute $29.8 million to establish the Mary and Robert Pew Education Fund as a supporting organization of the Community Foundation. Its mission is to improve public education for children from low-income families in Palm Beach and Martin Counties.

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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.

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The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund is established with a $20 million gift to address the arts, education, environment and community development.

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The Alleviate Hunger and Affordable Housing initiative begins, a collaborative effort focused on improving access to and distribution of food and permanent housing services to those most in need.

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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.

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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 School District of Palm Beach County and the University of Florida.

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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.

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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.

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Racial Equity Hub is established to advance racial equity. The Hub provides tools to help ensure that public and private efforts have the resources to effectively produce positive outcomes. In addition, the Covid-19 Response Fund is established.

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Total Assets Under Management hits an all-time record of $249 million.

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The Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary and sets the stage for the next 50 years of community impact with the completion of a 5-year strategic plan titled “Leading for Good.


A Timeline in the Making

History Happens Together.

It’s our dedicated donors and supporters who make Foundation history happen.
Here’s to the next 50 years of Giving for Good.

Cover of the 50 Year Anniversary PDF

Review Our 50-Year History Book