More About Us

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

The Foundation is an innovative means by which concerned citizens could 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 grantmaking in Berrien County. Together, these assets total over $47 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 call the Foundation office at 269-983-3304 or email Lisa Cripps-Downey at

The Berrien Community Foundation is confirmed in compliance with national standards for U.S. community foundations.