With a final grant made in October 2021 – bringing the total to $101,000 given to local nonprofits over 5 years – the Yampa Valley Community Foundation has wrapped up its Nonprofit Endowment Building Incentive Program. The Foundation has long supported nonprofit organizations and, paired with YVCF’s endowment-building tools and training, this partial match initiative was an additional boost of encouragement for creating long-term financial stability. Nonprofits were encouraged to use YVCF’s Endowment Building Toolkit and work with existing and potential donors to open an endowment or increase their current endowment, with the goal to eventually exceed a fund balance of $100,000. With the Incentive, YVCF matched 25 cents for every dollar donated to a nonprofit’s endowment fund held at the Foundation, up to $10,000. Endowment funds are invested in a long-term pool by YVCF’s professional investment manager, and the gains create a source of regular ongoing funding for the nonprofits.
Seventeen nonprofits participated in the Incentive Program, eight of which raised over $40,000 for their endowments and received the full $10,000 match from YVCF. Former Executive Director of Routt County Council on Aging Meg Tully recalls, “YVCF’s Endowment Building Toolkit and Incentive Match Program gave us the motivation to open an endowment and the tools to inspire our donors to contribute. The organization is now well on its way to having a stable source of funding to carry it through hard times.”
Five of the nonprofits that participated in the Incentive Program had previously established endowment funds but for which, for a variety of reasons, fundraising had slowed. The South Routt Education Endowment (SREE) was established in 2011 to be a permanent, discretionary source of funding for the South Routt School District but had gained only moderate fundraising traction by the time they joined the Incentive Program in 2017. After receiving a shot of momentum from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation program, SREE raised $65,650 and received the full $10,000 incentive match in three years to bring their fund balance to over $159,000 by the end of 2019. Fund Advisor Sara Redmond says, “Donors appreciated knowing that their contributions would be partially matched, which helped us re-launch our fundraising efforts and gave significant new life to the endowment.” SREE continues to utilize strategies from the Endowment Toolkit and grow their fund for the benefit of all students in South Routt.
YVCF’s Endowment Building Campaign was designed to bring awareness among nonprofit organizations and donors to the value of endowment funds and legacy giving. Many of the nonprofits who participated in the program established deeper relationships with their supporters which have resulted in planned gifts to their endowments. The Incentive match was funded with YVCF budget reserves and was an explicit choice to invest in nonprofits in the community. YVCF Finance Director Karen O’Connor says, “When YVCF staff presented the idea to the Board of Trustees in late 2016, they did not hesitate to approve the program and fund it with our organization’s reserves.” Supporting nonprofits in the Yampa Valley is the foundation on which YVCF is built, and the Endowment Incentive Program provided one more powerful and effective tool to help sustain their operations now and into the future.
The nonprofit endowment funds that participated in the Endowment Building Incentive are:
Advocates of Routt County
Community Agriculture Alliance
David Berolzheimer Foundation Endowment to Benefit Steamboat Creates
EOS (Everything Outdoors Steamboat; for Steamboat Springs School District)
Friends of Wilderness
Historic Routt County
Oak Creek Mountain Park
Old Town Hot Springs
Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
Routt County Council on Aging
Routt County Riders
South Routt Education Endowment
Steamboat Art Museum
Susan Mizen Legacy Endowment (for Horizons Specialized Services)
Tread of Pioneers Museum
Yampa Valley Sustainability Council