|Putting the money where the mouth is|
|Grangeville Community Foundation goes public, kicks off efforts; already $80,000 in the bank|
|By David Rauzi - editor, ICFP|
(subhead - money where their mouth is)
By David Rauzi, Editor
Idaho County Free Press
GRANGEVILLE - It's all about Grangeville.
Formed last year, the Grangeville Community Foundation (GCF) took on the task of promoting community projects and needs by essentially being a funding source that kick-starts ideas into tangible realities.
But it's more than just words and good intentions: Since a year ago April, GCF has raised approximately $80,000 from the community toward its $100,000 goal; this year, the nonprofit organization plans to fund $7,500 in grant requests for award this fall.
"Hopefully, what we're doing here is encouraging people to give, to make an investment in their community," said Mary Jahn, one of the five board members directing GCF. As grants are distributed and residents start seeing the positive impacts these projects are making in the community, according to Jahn, the hope is it inspires more giving that grows funds and perpetuates the cycle, and inspires a "tradition of philanthropy in our families."
"This is something for Grangeville by Grangeville folks," Jahn said, "and that's pretty compelling."
To backtrack, GCF was an outgrowth of the statewide Horizons initiative through the University of Idaho and the Northwest Area Foundation, implemented for Grangeville and also Kooskia back in 2007, as a way to reduce poverty, promote prosperity and develop leadership in rural communities. Those involved in that effort were inspired to join with other community members in creating a permanent endowment for the Grangeville community by becoming an affiliate of the Idaho Community Foundation (ICF) under its Together Idaho initiative. Grangeville is the first of four communities in the state to become involved in the program that invests funds from the community to conduct local projects.
According to GCF board member Mary Schmidt, through this affiliation, ICF provides financial management, technical support and also nonprofit status for GCF, as well as a financial incentive: When GCF meets its $100,000 goal, ICF will provide the endowment with an additional $25,000.
Funds donated by individuals and groups to GCF will be distributed 30 percent to a community fund and 70 percent to an endowment, she explained.
Grant distributions from the endowment come out of a percentage of the total, which is set by ICF, "so the more we give and the more that interest grows, the more that is given in grants," Schmidt said. So on 5 percent of $100,000, "that puts $5,000 into this community every year to start projects.... What happens when we get to a million? We'll be giving out $50,000 a year."
The community fund has no restrictions on the amount that can be given - in fact, potentially the entirety of this fund could be awarded in a grant cycle.
To reach its $100,000 goal, GCF has initiated the "100 for the Future" initiative, encouraging Grangeville and Grangeville-area individuals, families and businesses to be one of the first100 members of GCF through a $100 donation. This would be the core from which, Jahn said, "starts a wonderful cycle of giving to the community." GCF kicked off this effort with an announcement of the group and its goals at the May 6 Grangeville City Council meeting.
Plans are for $7,500 in grants to be awarded this year, in amounts from $250 to $5,000 to individuals or organizations within the Grangeville area for projects or community service activities that improve the quality of life and benefit its residents. Nonprofit entities as recognized by the IRS, and other entities which have similar nonprofit activities as their core function and mission are eligible to apply for GCF funding. Solicitation for grants will be from Aug. 1 to Sept. 15, and awards will be announced around Oct. 31.
Organizers are hopeful on the success of this philanthropy effort, and on the public in getting behind it: "They already have," Schmidt said, noting the $100,000 donated so far. The intent is to provide funding into perpetuity and cultivate planned giving by families to leave a legacy in the community, Jahn added.
"Twenty years from now I think people will be amazed on what they're able to do to solve local issues and fund local projects," Schmidt said, "and on how much better and more vibrant the community will have become."
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