Dubois County, January 19, 2016: Local giving remained steady as Dubois County Community Foundation ended 2015 with $2.58 million in contributions and grants. This brings the total Foundation assets to $30 million.
The Foundation saw 33 new permanent endowments established by local individuals and businesses to support a range of charitable causes across the county. Endowments, the primary purpose of community foundations, are forever funds designed to grant income to local charities and community projects.
“Over the past five years, we have raised over $9.3 million to grow our endowments and help create cash flow for local charities and exciting community projects seen across the county,” said Brad Ward, CEO.
Highlights for the year included a $500,000 matching grant from Lilly Endowment which launched a campaign to raise unrestricted assets. Local donors contributed to raise over a $1 million through the initiative. Unrestricted funds are pooled into The Fund for Dubois County, an endowment that provides funding for nonprofits to apply for throughout the year.
The Foundation also witnessed its largest grant recipient to date, the Next Act, Inc., wrap up its effort to purchase the Astra theatre and create a $300,000 endowment to support future revitalization, upkeep and enhancements to the theatre.
While contributions were strong, investment returns dropped.
For the first time in several years, the Foundation’s investments were in the negative, showing a return of (1.3%.) This result was in line with a variety of market benchmarks and reflected the increased volatility of both U.S. and world markets.
“While it’s not pleasant, the reality of today’s investment landscape is that there will be periods of negative returns,” said Mitch Clark, Foundation Investment committee member.
“The Foundation averages its returns to endowers and their endowments on a rolling 5 year cycle so that overall market volatility is neutralized as much as possible and allows the Foundation to maintain a reasonable and consistent return from those endowments,” Clark said.
The Foundation experienced an increase in its overall grantmaking, providing $923,000 in the form of 448 grants to Dubois County charities. This represented 68 student’s scholarships and 170 nonprofit agencies and organizations receiving grants.
“2015 was an outstanding year in grantmaking, with a record number of grants made and funds awarded,” said Nona Baker, Director of Programs. “Hundreds of organizations received support from the Foundation, impacting thousands of Dubois County lives,” Baker said.
County-wide collaboration has continued with a new $100,000 endowment created for the town of Schnellville as well as a grant made for its community playground project. A $25,000 planning grant went to the Town of Ireland to establish the Ireland Vision in honor of Ireland’s bicentennial this year.
“Ireland has a wonderful problem—unlike most small towns these days where populations are dwindling as larger cities grow, Ireland continues to attract families,” said Ireland native, Chase Rudolph.
“With Ireland’s bicentennial this summer, the Community Foundation’s support and grant came at the right time to ensure we capitalize on this growth and move our community in the right direction the next 200 years,” Rudolph said.
In addition to growing total endowed assets, the Community Foundation remains committed to areas of focus such as engaging the next generation in philanthropy through Dubois County Emerging Leaders and nonprofit development through the BetterTogether initiative.
“We are at the forefront of helping make change happen for our community, and our goal is for that change to be for the good of all and, where possible, a lasting change supported by endowments,” Ward said.