Ketchikan Community Foundation Announces First Non-Profit Grant Cycle
December 29, 2015
“We know it’s not a huge pool of money, but this is really just the beginning,” said Christa Bruce, chair of the Foundation advisory board. “As our endowment fund grows year after year, that pool of money available for annual community grants will also continue to grow,” she said.
The grant funding is drawn from a portion of the interest and investment income from the Community Foundation’s endowment fund, currently standing at almost $250,000.
Rotating Funding Categories
The Community Foundation advisory board board has chosen three categories they plan to fund in rotating one-year cycles, with the first category in 2016 identified as those programs benefitting “physical and emotional support.” “Youth” and “community enrichment” are the other two categories that will be rotated.
“The board made it very clear that we didn’t want to fall into a pattern of funding the same types of organizations over and over again, so that was the reason for developing the rotating categories” said Tom Schulz chair of the advisory board development committee.
The 2016 application process opens Feb. 1, 2016 and closes March 15, 2016. The announcement of grant award winners is expected to be in April or early May 2016. Applications will be available online at www.ketchikancf.org. Organizations must be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization to qualify.
In addition to the grant applications that are approved, the Community Foundation also plans to hold back a portion of the interest earnings each year potentially to be used for any unexpected emergencies that an organization may run into that aren’t covered in their budgets, and to fund additional training events for non-profit boards and staff.
Local Control Over Grant Awards
The Ketchikan Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Alaska Community Foundation in Anchorage, which will assist the Ketchikan group in the initial review of grant applications to ensure they meet qualifying standards. Once the applications have been reviewed and approved, the list will be passed back to the Ketchikan advisory board to make the final choice locally. The board may choose to fund either a single organization, or split the grant funds between groups.
“We don’t have an agenda as to where the funding goes,” Bruce said. “We’re really just looking to see what people are looking to us for. The important thing is that the decision on where to invest the grant funds is made locally, it’s our choice to invest in our town in the way we think is best.”
Staff at the Alaska Community Foundation also provides the local organization with administrative support, investment management, website support, legal and tax compliance, donor management and board development.
“This relieves the burden and risk from local board members, provides professional expertise, and provides investment options we wouldn’t have otherwise,” according to Bruce.
The Ketchikan Community Foundation became an affiliate of the Alaska Community Foundation in 2013. Bruce said several people a few years ago were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the successful launch of the local Foundation.
And The Rasmuson Foundation has provided the backbone of funding in seed money for the group, a total of $115,000 in matching funds. Local individuals and businesses pitched in for the balance of where the endowment fund stands today.
“Any dollars that are donated are never actually spent,” she said. “Only the interest generated from the endowment fund is used, which ensures that any donation will continue to build upon itself, creating a lasting legacy for the community that will last generations.”
Current Ketchikan Community Foundation board members are: Christa Bruce, Tessa Axelson, George Shaffer, Mike Cessnun, Heidi Ekstrand, Margaret Custer, Don Mitchel, Chere’ Klein, Tom Schulz, John Peterson, Marggie Sweetman and Clay Keene.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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