Building a Foundation of Equality

Established in 1969, the Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF) was the brainchild of the late Clearwater banker and attorney Ralph Richards. A visionary leader and civil rights champion, Richards initially sought to bridge the gap in social services available to African-Americans stemming from Florida’s history of segregation.

Hailing originally from Minnesota, Richards modeled PCF after other successful community foundations he had seen enrich the lives of those living in northern states.

Every bank in Pinellas County having a trust department signed an agreement to serve as a PCF trustee. Over the years, the names of the original banks may have changed, but their commitment to meeting your charitable goals remains steadfast.

The original trust agreement required the board of governors to be appointed by a diverse range of public and civic organizations, establishing a system of careful checks and balances to safeguard the integrity of PCF’s fiduciary responsibilities. Today, the board of governors remains an appointed body of trusted advisors dedicated to ensuring your gift continues to grow and fulfill your personal philanthropic goals for generations to come.

Humble Beginnings Paved the Way for Extraordinary Outcomes

Joel Hunter, MD, provided the first gift of $150 in 1969 to cover initial operating expenses for PCF. By the late 1970s, PCF was bequeathed more than $1.5 million to establish funds benefiting the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and St. Anthony’s Hospital. Through careful investment, these funds continue to provide a steady stream of needed support today.

PCF will soon celebrate its 50-year anniversary. Having well weathered significant social and economic changes, PCF remains a beacon of fiscal fortitude with more than $85 million under our management, providing unwavering support for our community’s most deserving charities.

See how decades of generosity have positioned PCF to ensure our community’s charitable organizations (over 130 recipients in 2016) remain vital to those who depend on their services.

Ralph Richards, Pinellas Change-Maker

Learn more about what makes our founder a community hero …

Known for his generosity and unwavering commitment to social justice, Richards disdained any form of prejudice or discrimination. Among his many laudable professional achievements, including founding Clearwater Savings and Loan, Richards left an indelible mark on Pinellas.

  • Spent seven years working to personally raise $25,000 to provide a swimming pool for African-Americans living in Clearwater during the segregated 1950s.
  • Championed housing for at-risk individuals in the African-American community.
  • Encouraged clients to join him in donating to support historically black colleges and scholarships for African-American students graduating from Pinellas County high schools.
  • Founded Community Pride Child Care with his wife, Harriet. This daycare, which predominately serves underprivileged children, continues to receive support from PCF thanks to a generous financial endowment by the Richards.
  • Royalties from one of Richards’ most successful books were designated to benefit the Clearwater YMCA (now YMCA of the Suncoast).
  • Constructed Ralph Richards Towers to provide low-income housing for Clearwater senior citizens.

History of Giving
in Pinellas

View the timeline >