In 1989, community leaders suggested that central Louisiana needed a community foundation. The topic was discussed and the group determined that a foundation would need substantial assets to have a paid director in order to become a viable foundation. Sources were considered and only half of the necessary funding seemed possible, so opportunity was deferred. 

Ten years later, Central Louisiana leaders again recognized the need for a local community foundation to further the vision of local philanthropists. Eleven local leaders with the help of the Greater New Orleans Foundation met, and the decision was made to go forward.

In May 1999 the Central Louisiana Community Foundation was established as a Louisiana Not for Profit Corporation. Five weeks later was granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service.

Early funding came from the Coughlin-Saunders Foundation and The Rapides Foundation, as well as contributions from founding members. A part-time executive director was hired, and the board began to meet to craft mission, vision and goals statements, which have been revised and refined to serve the Foundation today.

Norman Martin served as the first volunteer leader, followed by Edward Crump. Later leaders included Wayne Denley, Brent Pearson, Curman Gaines, Wylie Cavin, Arnold Task, Henry Blake, David Britt, Glenda Stock, Brenner Sadler, Coan Knight, Martin Johnson, Chad Soprano, Kermit Pharris and Mike Young.

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