TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 21, 2011 –
Thirty-three local nonprofit organizations successfully completed a matching fund challenge issued by the United Way of the Big Bend earning each an endowment fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida. During the 4 year matching period, United Way’s initial challenge investment of $220,000 attracted additional gifts and earnings resulting in endowment dollars now totaling more than $1.5 million.
United Way issued the challenge in July of 2007 by seeding an endowment at the Community Foundation for each of the then 47 United Way agencies. The initial investment for each organization was approximately $5,000. United Way then challenged each agency to match the initial contribution by July 1, 2010 in order to earn full rights to their endowment. In the spring of 2010, the matching deadline was extended 12 months to July 1, 2011 due to the difficult economic conditions during much of the three year matching period.
“We are pleased that 33 agencies were able to meet the match especially given the challenges faced by most of those agencies during the matching time period.” said Joy Watkins, President of the Community Foundation. “Because of the United Way’s foresight and monetary investment, each of these agencies now has a permanent endowment fund to secure the future work of their organization. And, now that the endowments exist, it is easy for others to add to them. ”
Watkins noted that 5 of the 33 organizations not only met the $5,000 match but far exceeded it. In one case, once the United Way seeded the partnership at the Community Foundation, the organization moved its board managed endowment to the Foundation for professional investment oversight, third party protection and greater donor confidence. “We saw this as the best way to assure our past and future donors that their legacy gifts would have a lasting benefit to the agency for the programs and purposes they intended.” said Jim Croteau, Executive Director of Elder Care Services.
In another case, an agency began an endowment campaign shortly after United Way seeded the agency’s endowment at the Community Foundation. The partnership with the Foundation has given, and continues to give, their donors confidence in adding significantly to the endowment with current gifts as well as adding gifts that will take effect at the death of the donor. “Our Board members and donors have a high level of confidence in the Community Foundation.” said Kristine Knab, Executive Director of Legal Services of North Florida.
“The partnership with the Community Foundation allows the board and staff of each agency to focus on the mission of their organization while the Foundation professionally invests, accounts for and protects the endowment funds in perpetuity.” said Lawton Langford, 2007 UWBB Campaign Chair and current member of the Community Foundation Investment Committee. “Through the Community
Foundation our local nonprofits collectively have access to a diversified endowment investment portfolio and expertise that would be difficult, if not impossible, to access individually and at a low cost due to the economies of scale.”
The United Way $220,000 seed money came from a 2007 Jimmy Buffett concert made possible by Susie Busch-Transou, Tri-Eagle Sales and Anheuser-Busch. “The extraordinary proceeds from the Buffett concert presented a remarkable opportunity to help the agencies plan for their future. These endowments will provide a continuous stream of support for our community.” said Susie Busch-Transou, 2006 UWBB Campaign Chair.
One might ask if now is a good time to focus on building an endowment. “Economic times like the ones we’ve experienced these past few years demonstrate the value of an endowment fund to subsidize operating costs of a nonprofit...especially when other funding sources are so tight.” said Ken Armstrong, President of United Way of the Big Bend. “Any time is a good time to talk with donors about supporting both the work a nonprofit is doing today and the agency’s plans for the future.”
“This partnership is a perfect example of the symbiotic relationship between the Community Foundation, the United Way and local nonprofit organizations and is a win, win for all involved.” said Stan Barnes, Chairman of the Board of the Community Foundation. “Thank you to the United Way for establishing these funds and thank you to the many donors who have added to them. We encourage others do the same for the future security of our local nonprofit organizations.”
Congratulations to the following agencies for meeting the match and planning for the future:
211 Big Bend Elder Care Services
Ability 1st Epilepsy Association of the Big Bend
Alzheimer’s Project Fellowship of Christian Athletes
American Red Cross, Capital Area Chapter Girl Scout Council of the Apalachee Bend
America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association
Big Bend Cares Legal Services of North Florida
Big Bend Habitat for Humanity Lighthouse of the Big Bend
Big Bend Homeless Coalition Literacy Volunteers of Leon County
Big Bend Hospice Office of the Public Guardian
Big Brothers Big Sisters Pace Center for Girls
Brehon Institute Pregnancy Help & Information Center
Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition Refuge House
Capital Medical Society The Shelter
Catholic Charities Tree House of Tallahassee
Consumer Credit Counseling Service Turn About
Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend Wakulla County Senior Citizens Council
ECHO Outreach Ministries