The Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation announced its official launch after nearly a year of planning and community engagement.

Advisory board members will be visible and available to answer questions at most Hackensack/Backus area events.

The Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation is a partner fund of the Initiative Foundation and is led by an advisory board of local volunteers. The foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in the Hackensack lakes area community by providing financial and human connections to support a healthy place to live, learn, work and play.

The foundation serves the Hackensack/Backus lakes area, defined as the geographic region covering the 127 lakes within a 10-mile radius of the Hackensack city limits. Hackensack’s partnership with the Initiative Foundation combines local knowledge and leadership with professional expertise and guidance to identify community needs, build relationships with donors, and manage the foundation’s investments in the future of the Hackensack lakes area.

In late 2018, the Hackensack Game Changers secured a $10,000 matching grant from the Initiative Foundation for an endowment to start Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation. Tax-deductible donations made to the endowment fund between now and the end of 2019 will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000.

An endowment fund is a charitable investment account in which the contributions are invested as principal to generate interest income, and only the interest income is spent. This provides a flexible, dependable funding stream to support. As the endowment fund grows, it generates more and more interest income, which will be distributed in the form of grants for local projects to improve quality of life.

The specific grants the Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation will award will depend on the applicant pool and the available resources in any given year. Grants will be available to support and supplement the work of new and existing area clubs, groups and other agencies.

The Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation has already received a pledge from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. St. Paul’s has established a Gifts of Gratitude Fund in honor of its centennial, and is accepting donations through Dec. 15. These Gifts of Gratitude will be given to the Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation by St. Paul’s “in thankful appreciation of 100 years of fellowship and collaboration with our local community.”

Advisory board members will be available for questions at events including: Saturday, Aug. 3, at Pork in the Park in downtown Hackensack; Tuesday, Aug. 6, at National Night Out near the Hackensack Community Center and ball field; Friday, Aug. 9, at the Faith in Action open house and ice cream social at the Faith in Action office in Hackensack; Saturday, Aug. 10, at Backus Cornfest and at the Art & Book Festival near the Hackensack Community Center; and Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the flea market near Sacred Heart Church.

Online donations may be made at www.givemn.org/story/Hlacf. The Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation website will soon be up with further details at www.hackensackfund.org.