Nonprofits Create Rainy Day Accounts at ECCF
ECCF: 20 Years: celebrating our past ~ inspiring our future. This is the 15th in a series of articles on the Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF) during its 20th anniversary year, highlighting its history and impact in the community
ST. MARYS: The Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF) is known for helping area organizations fund their projects through grant awards, but ECCF offers other services to non-profits as well. Just like our families, agencies should have a “rainy day” fund in case there’s an emergency or to help plan for the future. The good news is that a number of local organizations have a plan in the form of an Endowment Fund with ECCF that can provide them with an annual income.
Just what is an endowment fund? Simply put, it works like a savings account or “401K” for an organization. The agency and its supporters make contributions directly to the fund, which generates income for the organization to use or reinvest to help the principle grow. An endowment demonstrates that an organization has made a long-term commitment to their mission. Endowment earnings can be used each year to help fund operations, programs, and unanticipated needs. The Community Foundation provides investment oversight of the funds and many other services.
Many local organizations have an established Endowment Fund at ECCF. CAPSEA, Catholic Daughters of America, Crystal Fire Department, Dickinson Center Inc., Elk County Catholic School System, Elk County Council on the Arts, Elkland Search & Rescue, Friends of Twin Lakes, Johnsonburg Public Library, Oak Manor, Pheasants Forever Chapter 630, Potter County Education Council, Ridgway Free Public Library, Ridgway YMCA, Rita M. Sorg & Marcella A. Largey Fund for Elcam Community Center, St. Marys Area United Way, St. Marys Christian Food Bank, St. Marys Public Library, and Women Who Care have all established funds. It’s important for community organizations that enhance the lives of area residents to have a plan for long-term stability.
Some funds are established by the organization itself, while others may be started by an individual who took special interest in that organization and its mission. In some cases, people designate organizations for donations in their estate plan. Recently, endowment funds for the Crystal Fire Department and Elkland Search & Rescue were started with money bequeathed to them through the estate of a local gentleman who passed away.
When people give contributions to an endowment, they support the cause of perpetuity, and their money will support a community institution long after they’re gone. Donations, large or small, can be made at any time to support an endowment fund. An endowment provides a cash reserve that can help smooth out the ups and downs that every organization experiences over time.
There are many reasons why donors give their dollars and resources for charitable purposes. It brings more meaning to their lives, helps others in need, provides a tax donation, promotes generosity in their children, motivates family and friends to do the same, gives them a personal connection to the cause of the organization, and makes them a part of growing their communities.
The Community Foundation is an ideal vehicle for building an endowment to help a nonprofit better meet current challenges and provide long-term stability for the future of the organization. Donations to any endowment fund will help support both the agency and the many programs they offer that enhance the lives of our families. ECCF provides the administrative and investment management services that make it easy for donors to accomplish their charitable wishes. For more information, visit their website at www.elkcountyfoundation.org or call the office at 834.2125.
Photo: The St. Marys Public Library Endowment Fund serves as a “rainy day” account for the organization. The fund’s yearly earnings are often used to support their popular summer reading program.