Yampa Valley Community Foundation introduces nonprofit endowment challenge | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa Valley Community Foundation introduces nonprofit endowment challenge

Teresa Ristow

South Routt Elementary School teacher Mrs. Reeves reads to her first-grade class on the first day of school in 2015.

— A new program of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation is encouraging local nonprofits to start or grow endowment funds using the foundation's matching incentive.

Through the endowment building program, the foundation will give nonprofits 25 cents on the dollar up to $10,000 per nonprofit for money raised for an organization's endowment held at the foundation.

Nonprofits with large endowment funds are able to withdraw investment profits annually, and having an endowment shows new donors that a nonprofit has long-term stability, according to Mark Andersen, executive director of the foundation.

"It's a secure funding source for your organization, and we believe they're beneficial for an organization to have financial stability," Andersen said.

YVCF has set aside $100,000 to use as matching funds for local endowments.

One group taking advantage of the new incentive program is the Soroco Education Endowment Fund, a group raising money to support the South Routt School District.

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The fund was originally started in 2011 and raised about $60,000 before district leadership changed and the efforts to build the fund were put aside.

South Routt fundraiser Russ Garrity said the group recently decided to put forth a new effort to grow the fund, and soon after, the foundation announced its endowment building program.

"We decided we had put it aside too long, and when you can get matching funds, it's so positive for our cause," Garrity said.

Garrity said the group hopes to grow the endowment to $1 million and then use profits to help the school district, which has limited options to boost funding, Garrity said.

"I think it's important for communities to not keep relying on mill levies. There's a limit to how much the community can support in taxes, and we wanted to show we're looking at outside sources," he said. "When you're a small community like us, finances are so tough. We really do need more money to spend on these kids in this community."

Soroco Education Endowment Fund organizers are planning a dinner March 8 at Circle R to thank previous endowment donors and attract new support for the cause.

Another nonprofit with an established endowment fund through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation is Tread of Pioneers Museum, which started its fund more than 10 years ago.

Museum Executive Director Candice Bannister said the fund is great for donors hoping to support the long-term success of the organization or leave a legacy gift.

"It gives those donors leaving a legacy gift a great chance to give," Bannister said.

She said the museum will encourage donors to give now so the museum can take advantage of the matching incentive funds.

Andersen said that part of the community foundation's initiative is to hopefully have nonprofits talk to their donors about the importance of establishing endowment funds.

"It's a great way for nonprofit organizations to show financial security and have a dedicated funding source," Andersen said.

Additional information about the program is available at yvcf.org.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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