Liz and Jon Erickson know a good investment when they see one. As a managing director at the Princeton University Investment Company, Jon works closely with its president, Andrew Golden, who sits on the Community Foundation board and chairs its investment committee. “Jon knows firsthand how strong the Community Foundation’s investment strategy is, and we consider the Community Foundation to be an integral part of our investment portfolio,” Liz says.

Since setting up the Erickson Family Fund in 2006, the Ericksons have had a series of “lightbulb moments,” discovering in the Community Foundation an array of resources that exceeded their expectations. “I had no idea that we would get such hands-on guidance and service,” Liz says. “I have learned a tremendous amount from the Community Foundation team—and through the Fund for Women and Girls workshops and grantmaking—about the needs of this community, strategic philanthropy, and how to make an impact with even modest charitable gifts.”

Last year, the couple made one of their largest single charitable gifts to date, in order to help launch a social-research initiative conducted by the Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls. “We saw this gift as venture philanthropy,” Liz says. “We are excited to be engaged at the start-up stage of a project that will provide a road map for addressing the needs of women and girls for years to come. We hope that the research will inspire others to give, as well.”

To anyone interested in starting a fund at the Community Foundation, the Ericksons offer the following advice: “It will simplify your giving, expand your expertise, increase your impact, and connect you to an extraordinary network of leaders and practitioners who know this community well. We feel very lucky to be involved.”