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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Community Foundation works through deserving agencies

Monday, March 27, 2006

Edie Campe photo

Executive Director of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation Beth Tevlin, former Clay County Affiliate Director and current Sullivan County Affiliate Director Kay Aubin and current Clay County Affiliate Director Brian Deakins are some of the person's responsible for getting extra funds for organizations around the Wabash Valley.

The average person does not think about how non-profit organizations raise or acquire funds to keep the agency afloat.

County residents living outside of Brazil assume their township's volunteer fire department will save their property in the event of a fire, without thinking about the mechanical condition of the fire engine. Parents believe that the YMCA will always be available for their children to learn and keep active, without realizing the electric bill has to be paid. Others assure themselves that the Clay County Historical Society will be available to search and record the county's history and genealogy, without wondering where the equipment came from.

These organizations and many others need the support of the community to serve the public.

A starting point for many of these organizations is the Clay County Community Foundation, a division and affiliate of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation.

The foundation is a non-profit agency that accepts monetary donations or memorial gifts and creates a fund for the specified organization or scholarship.

"A lot of the (memorial fund) donations we get are because families realize that a particular organization has a fund with the community foundation and it was something the (deceased person) had an affinity for," Sullivan County Affiliate Director Kay Aubin said.

"Sometimes we get a gift from someone and they don't specify where it is supposed to go. Unspecified gifts from Clay County go into the Clay County General Endowment Fund," said Executive Director of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation Beth Tevlin. "That way the earnings are used for the benefit of a variety of different Clay County organizations, based on the competitive grant process."

A person can make a donation of any size to the community foundation for any fund or scholarship. The money in the fund is conservatively invested in the market, according to Clay County Affiliate Director Brian Deakins.

"Say that we have a $100,000 investment. We would invest it in the market and at the end of the year we would look at what the earnings are. Earnings can run anywhere from a couple of percents up to 10 or 12 percent. What we do is, we spend out 5 percent of the fund's value. So out of a $100,000 fund, we want to distribute $5,000 to the grant," Tevlin said.

"Part of the reason that we want to do that is because over a long period of time, the excess money that has been earned by that fund will go back into the fund so that it will grow, so it too can keep up with inflation," Tevlin said. "Hopefully the 5 percent of the fund's value increases each year."

Twice a year, organizations can fill out a grant application to be considered for funding from the Clay County General Endowment Fund by board members. It is a competitive grant process, where board members decide which organizations need the money the most from all of the applications.

"If we had 12 applicants this cycle, the board members will do a site visit with each organization to get a better understanding of the applicants' needs. We look at the urgency of the requests," said Aubin.

"The decisions made about the grants in Clay County are made by Clay County people. They review them, they know what the needs of the community are," Tevlin explained. "It really is an organization that empowers the local community to determine what its needs are and to funnel the money there."

She said, "Truly we are an organization that believes what our donor wants to achieve is more important to us than what we personally want to achieve. Our goal is to try to fulfill our donor's charitable goals. That is part of our mission."

"We are not competing with those agencies for funds. Those organizations are going to be receiving dollars today (from personal donations), and they'll probably spend them within the next year or two," Tevlin said about how the foundation contributes to those organizations each year.

"The money that has been brought into Clay County because of the community foundation exists is incredibly substantial."

According to Tevlin, Indiana has more community foundations than any other state. In Indiana, there are 72 foundations that serve all 92 counties.

"Every resident in Indiana is served by a community foundation."

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