Friday, December 14, 2007

Do You Have One?

My brother Jim is president of the Effingham County Community Foundation (ECCF), an organization that several of us set up in the late 90s under the motto of, “For Good. Forever.” Today, the foundation has grown to almost $2 million in assets in 36 different funds and has given out almost $500,000 in grants over the years. The ECCF is in the midst of leading a $3 million campaign to endow an operating fund for a new $13 million Sports Center. They are over 2/3 of the way toward their goal. This is a very giving community.

Jim also shared with me a new study from the Donors Forum and the Midwest Community Foundations’ Ventures, Wealth Transfer in Illinois. It details the transfer of wealth in each of the 102 counties in IL over the next 50 years, estimated to be $1.36 trillion.

In my county of Effingham (population 34,429) the ten year transfer of wealth is estimated at $490 million and the fifty year total is estimated at $3.52 billion. The study points out that if only 5% of that wealth is left for a community foundation it will amount to over $25 million over the next 10 years, which at a 5% payout rate would bring $1,230,000 in benefits to the county annually. And, imagine what it could do in 50!

Even for the smallest county in Illinois, Pope County (population 4,184) deep in southern IL, the 50 year transfer is $215 million, the 10 year is $34 million, five percent capture over ten years is $3 million and at a 5% payout is $160,000/year.

I’ve often said that if there is one thing that I could do in every town that I talk and tour, it would be to set up a community foundation. If you don’t have one in your town, you should!

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