By Russ Pankonin, The Imperial Republican
The gift that keeps on giving. It’s a catch phrase marketers have used in hundreds of advertisements and jingles over the
years—all with the intent of selling you something.
On Monday night, the Imperial Community Foundation Fund held a celebration to mark the accomplishments of the foundation. Since beginning in 1999 as an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation, the Imperial fund has grown to assets totalling more than $725,000.
During that same time frame, the local foundation has given back nearly $260,000 to the Imperial, Champion, Lamar area in the form of grants, scholarships and donor-advised gifts. I think you’ll agree that’s a laudable accomplishment.
This just didn’t happened by chance. Over the years, the advisory committee members of the local foundation have worked tirelessly to educate Imperial about the importance of charitable giving.
The primary efforts of the foundation now focus on building a permanent unrestricted endowment to build for the future of Imperial and Chase County.
During Monday’s celebration, the only selling the foundation did was to “sell” people on believing in the future of Imperial and investing in that future.
With a permanent community endowment, the annual yield return from that endowment can be used for a wide variety of projects that benefit the community. But more importantly, the principal remains untouched and will continue to grow.
As the endowment grows, the benefits to the community only multiply.
During Monday’s celebration, recipients of scholarships and grants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to fund their education and educational programs.
It’s amazing what a community can do with a permanent endowment. What’s even more amazing is to see communities far smaller than Imperial build permanent unrestricted endowments of more than $3 million.
Take for instance, the town of Shickley, population 340. People there believe in the future of their small community. And to insure the community continues to thrive, despite its small size, they have built an endowment that now totals $1.3 million. Plus, donors have already pledged future assets worth another $2.1 million. Having met all goals, they’re now on their way to an $8 million goal by 2020.
By 2015, the local board’s goal is to build an unrestricted endowment of at least $1 million. Thus far, Imperial is not quite halfway there.
If people in the small town the size of Shickley can raise that kind of money, I’m sure the community of Imperial can reach and most likely exceed its $1 million goal. That sounds like a challenge!
The past 12 month return on the foundation’s funds exceeded 19 percent. At an annual current payout rate of 4.5 percent, a $1 million endowment would generate $45,000 that could be reinvested back into the community every year.
During Monday’s celebration, several people outlined they have already put a plan in place to include the Imperial Community Foundation in their estate planning. These plans include assignment of life insurance policies, transfer of Individual Retirement Accounts and gifts of property and cash.
Several ongoing ways to contribute to the foundation include becoming a foundation Star Builder, memorial and honorarium gifts, cash contributions and the gift of grain, livestock or real estate.
Building an endowment that will be here for Imperial’s future generations represents the perfect example of a “gift that keeps on giving.”