On Tuesday, March 25th, 2013, the Estill Development Alliance Board of Directors officially adopted governing policies for a new initiative called the Estill County Community Foundation.
What is it? - A grant-making entity to serve Estill County by making grants to worthwhile community projects - An operating division of Estill County 21st Century, Inc. dba Estill Development Alliance (the same relationship as the chamber of commerce) - A fund to which individuals and businesses can make tax-deductible donations and know those dollars will be re-distributed to support Estill County people and projects
Who controls it? - The board is appointed by the EDA Board of Directors initially, but elections will be held at our annual meeting this fall for formal board positions. This board will oversee operations of the foundation and distribution of grant funds, and is voted upon by the entire membership of Estill County 21st Century, which includes every chamber of commerce member in good standing.
How is it funded? - The endowment is built from donations. Plain and simple. Whether it comes from regular monthly donations from individuals and businesses, fundraising campaigns or revenue streams established solely for that purpose, monies are put into the foundation to either build the endowment to provide interest income over time or re-granted immediately to serve community needs.
How does it benefit individuals? - Many folks want to leave a legacy. When estate planning, we can provide an opportunity to those folks who want to support the community at-large, perhaps as an additional “heir” when they leave this world. Other folks look for tax relief through charitable donations, and the foundation provides them with a way to keep their money in Estill County and support projects that benefit us all, right here at home.
How does it benefit businesses? - A constant concern presented to the chamber over the years is the overwhelming number of people going door-to-door asking our members to support their causes. Hating to say no and potentially anger potential or existing customers, it has put many of our small business folks in a bind. Participation in the foundation gives these small businesses some protection in that respect. By having the sign on the door declaring that all their charitable giving is done through the foundation, all “support seekers” are on a level playing field. The accountability measures in place through the foundation give business owners peace of mind that money they have donated is being spent as it is supposed to be. An additional benefit is that a regular giving schedule to the foundation allows businesses to stay on budget. Only the business owner knows how much they can afford to contribute, and this allows them to treat their charitable support as a fixed cost when projecting cash flows.
How does it benefit the community? - There is never enough financial support to go around. With a formal process to follow to receive the scarce charitable dollars in our community, we as a community are assured that those dollars go where they can make the most impact. With accountability measures in place for grant recipients, we will all know the money is being used as it is intended. The foundation also makes it possible to “capture wealth” for folks who pass on but want to leave something to support our community.
What about transparency? - This issue is of utmost importance. To ensure this initiative works correctly, everyone must have a clear view into the books of the foundation. While protecting the privacy of the donors, all income and expenditures will be posted on our website for the world to see. All grant recipients, the amounts they receive, and the line item budgets of how the money was spent will also be posted. One problem we WILL NOT face is having people question where the money is going.
What does EDA get out of this? - EDA’s mission is “to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Estill County, Kentucky, through conducting, promoting & supporting civic, cultural, economic, educational and social activities and programs which maximize citizen and community involvement.” This initiative definitely falls within that mission. EDA will not be siphoning off the endowment funds for overhead costs. The foundation fund will have its own checking account. That being said, a small percentage of incoming donations will be budgeted to cover administrative costs such as printing and mailing. This is being set at 5% initially and will decrease over time as the endowment grows. Regardless of that set-aside, the foundation board will have control over those administrative funds as well.
How do I get involved? - This foundation has only recently been established, so all the ins and outs aren’t finalized yet. You will be receiving much more information in the coming weeks and months on how to get involved with this exciting opportunity to build a lasting and beneficial institution for Estill County’s future!