Who We Are

Berrien Community Foundation was established in 1952 by William Vawter and a group of concerned businesspeople, much like the rest of the community foundation movement that started in the Midwest.

     >>>Download the Journey Through The Decades: A Snapshot of BCF's History

The Foundation is an innovative means by which concerned citizens can put charitable dollars to work for the benefit of Berrien County residents.

It is a union of numerous gifts, bequests, and other contributions that form endowments and other funds. The spendable portion of the Foundation's endowments are used to make grants to agencies and institutions serving the residents of Berrien County.

BCF holds funds for our local non-profit agencies, donor advised funds, and Field of Interest funds, along with our fund to support general grant-making in Berrien County. Together, these assets total over $90 million.

From totally undesignated funds to organizational funds (e.g., nonprofits, schools) to personalized donor advised funds, prospective donors can shape gift agreements to meet both their financial objectives and charitable aspirations.

For more information about the role the Community Foundation can play as a partner in your philanthropy, please contact our President, Lisa Cripps-Downey by clicking here.




The mission of Berrien Community Foundation is to connect the power of people who care with causes and organizations that strengthen our communities.


The vision of Berrien Community Foundation is to build strong, vibrant, and sustainable communities.

For Good. For Ever.



The Berrien Community Foundation is committed to the following values as essential to our success. Our core values guide the Community Foundation in our work and dedication to our donors, stakeholders and to one another:

Caring: We believe in passionate philanthropy that shows compassion for our world.

Integrity: We are honest, trustworthy, unbiased, fair, respectful, and transparent in our work, always acting as good stewards of our resources.

Excellence: We work for excellence in all we do by being effective, knowledgeable, and responsible.

Inclusive: We embrace diversity and collaboration in all our efforts.

Leadership: We exemplify leadership through our community partnerships acting as a proactive, progressive, and adaptable community influencer for positive change.




Berrien Community Foundation is confirmed to be in compliance with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.