rss icon

Thursday, 08 October 2015 16:04

Holland/Zeeland foundation launches campaign to build endowment fund

Written by 
Rate this item
(6 votes)
Retired Hope College president Dr. Jim Bultman speaks at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area’s annual fall celebration, which announced the “Today. Tomorrow. Forever.” capital campaign. Bultman is a volunteer co-leader for the campaign, which aims to increase the community endowment by $5 million in assets by 2018. Retired Hope College president Dr. Jim Bultman speaks at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area’s annual fall celebration, which announced the “Today. Tomorrow. Forever.” capital campaign. Bultman is a volunteer co-leader for the campaign, which aims to increase the community endowment by $5 million in assets by 2018. Courtesy Photo

HOLLAND — Despite solid growth over the last two decades, the staff and board of trustees for the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area came to the realization that they were bolstering only one side of what was supposed to be a two-pronged mission for the organization.

“We were looking at the numbers, and over the last decade, about 95 percent of the gifts we had received were coming into the donor service funds,” said President and CEO Mike Goorhouse. “That translated to about $5 million a year in donor service funds and only $300,000 a year gifted to the community endowment.

“We knew (increasing the endowment) was the step we needed to take. We were founded to do both of these things, and we were really only doing one of them.”

That realization served as the call to action for the foundation’s recently announced capital campaign dubbed, “Today. Tomorrow. Forever.”

The effort aims not only to grow the community endowment by $5 million in assets — from $15 million to $20 million — by 2018, but also to secure long-term commitments via 100 new estate gift commitments. This is the first significant capital-raising effort for the foundation in the last 20 years.


A NEW APPROACH

Goorhouse promised that the recent efforts to boost the community endowment would not diminish the foundation’s growing progress with donor service work, which accounts for $40 million in assets compared to the endowment’s $15 million.

The donor service allows the foundation’s staff to help donors achieve specific charitable goals. Meanwhile, the foundation uses endowment funds at its discretion for grants and rainy day funds.

“We never know what the future is going to bring, and these dollars allow us to respond to both needs and opportunities,” Goorhouse said of the community endowment money. “We want to ensure that the Holland and Zeeland area remains a great place to live, which is why we want to invest in a permanent endowment that lets us respond to each need.”

The major benefit that comes with growing the endowment will be the opportunity to issue either more grants or the same number of grants in higher amounts. Currently, the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area writes between $500,000 and $600,000 in grants annually.

The foundation typically holds three rounds of grants, issuing between 15 and 20 grants per year, with the average award falling roughly between $25,000 to $30,000.

Following the capital campaign, Goorhouse said that the foundation would have the ability to issue $800,000 in grants per year. This number will only grow over time, and as the projected estate gifts come to fruition, that sum could balloon up to $1.5 million to $2 million.

“Whenever you design your grant making, one factor you have to consider is what is the size of your resources,” Goorhouse said.

“We usually get around 12 to 15 applications [for grants each round],” Goorhouse added. “Most of these things are not bad things and it comes down to saying, ‘Well, that’s a good thing. And, that’s a good thing. What is the better of those two things?’ With additional resources, we’ll be able to support both.”

Despite the prospect of having additional resources, Goorhouse said that the foundation’s strategy for selecting which organizations receive grant money will remain the same.

“We want to be there for nonprofits when they are working through some sort of shift or key inflection point in the organization’s life cycle,” he said. “Maybe they’re about to change programs or change the way they pursue their mission — that’s when we want to provide dollars for them to do that.

“An example is if they’re an organization that relies on a space or place to do their work. If a new building will be core to who they are and key to their life cycle, we will often help with something like that.”


STRONG EARLY SUPPORT

The “Today. Tomorrow. Forever.” campaign charged out of the gates with significant momentum, Goorhouse said.

Lead donors stepped up to pledge $3 million of the $5 million short-term goal. The donations were contingent on the community responding to raise the additional $2 million. The donor group will donate an additional dollar for each $2 raised by the public.

A different set of donors promised to donate $20,000 for each estate gift commitment that is pledged. In the first two weeks of the campaign alone, the foundation was closing in on 30 estate pledges. Goorhouse called the initial success overwhelming, a sentiment shared by former Hope College president and volunteer campaign co-leader Dr. Jim Bultman.

“I think Mike has done a great job of planning and articulating the need for community foundation endowment,” said Bultman, who, together with his wife, has pledged an estate commitment. “I think the theme has resonated with the community and we’re looking forward to a very successful campaign.”

Bultman also added that the early results and momentum serve as an indication of what type of residents live in the Holland and Zeeland areas, and that the added endowment funds will allow the foundation to respond quickly to opportunities and initiatives — along with keeping the area strong during times of economic downturns.

“It really requires a lot of trust from the people in the Holland and Zeeland area — trust placed in the foundation board that they’re going to make wise decisions on behalf of the donors, who really relinquish their rights to choose what the money is for,” Bultman said. “I think that kind of trust exists in Holland, which is why I think there is optimism for success.”

Read 1930 times Last modified on Monday, 12 October 2015 12:40
Jayson Bussa

Staff writer/Web editor

[email protected]

Breaking News

September 2018
S M T W T F S
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6

Follow MiBiz