The Greater Ruxton Area Foundation began operations in 2002. A number of factors went into the decision to form a 501(c)3 entity. Daily demands on the Ruxton, Riderwood, Lake Roland Area Improvement Association were becoming more complex. The day-to-day community operations, zoning, traffic and land use issues left little time for strategic, long-term focus or capital improvement planning. The community plan process gave us the opportunity to see that a community foundation could be helpful in strategic action and oversight. Also, we had never aggressively sought public or private grants as a way of improving and investing in the community. With the formation of the Foundation, the Rider House became available to us, as did tax incentives for preservation easements and the ability to solicit cash donations for grant matching. We now have the tools to be competitive players in local public policy formation, enforcement and planning.
The Foundation works closely with the Association, using its 501(c)3 status to obtain public and private grants. Grants usually have a community participation component and because donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible, there is a very real incentive for residents to contribute to our program. With community donations and matching grants, the Rider House was saved from demolition and now is used by the Association and Foundation as an office and meeting center. The Foundation is also able to accept easement donations (development rights) if they meet strict guidelines as established by the IRS. This program will aid in the preservation of remaining open space in our community. The Foundation also focuses on applying for grants to improve public landscaping in selected areas of our community.