Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

December 24, 2012

Foundation reaches $5 million in countywide giving

— “We have hit yet another great milestone,” Franklin County Community Foundation executive director Shelly Lunsford announced at the Dec. 5 annual meeting. “We have surpassed the $5 million mark in giving through our grant and scholarship programs! That just amazes me. We are one of the smaller foundations in the state, and to be able to give that much back to our county is truly wonderful.”

In the annual report, she wrote, “From the very first FCCF grant that provided materials to build 65 bluebird boxes, to more recent funding that installed state-of-the-art computer labs in local schools, the mission of the foundation has always been to promote an enriched future for citizens of Franklin County.”

The foundation’s successful year included awarding 60 scholarships and 38 grants.

FCCF officials oversee 108 funds, including seven established this past year: Hero Park Gazebo Endowment, Robert and Joan Nau Family Endowment, Franklin County Arts Council Scholarship Endowment, Eric J. Biehl Memorial Endowment, Clara A. Back Memorial Scholarship Endowment, Clayton “Clay” John Seale Memorial Scholarship Endowment and Maxwell James Grimmeissen Memorial Scholarship Endowment.

Now that the first round of EcO15 (Economic Opportunities through Education 2015) has concluded, beginning in 2013, FCCF will receive about $80,000 more from Lilly Endowment to continue the 10-county southeastern Indiana initiative. According to Lunsford, “This round of funding will be focused on education again, with a stronger focus on adult education.”  

Income from Sept. 1, 2011-Aug. 31, 2012, was $557,875, she reported. After expenses of $640,888, FCCF had a net loss of $83,013. Net assets total $2.99 million.

Lunsford explained the reason for the loss: “This year $166,000 of the EcO15 funding that had come into us a couple of years ago was paid out. When we administer grants such as EcO15, many times the funding comes in one year, and is not be paid out until a year or two later.”  

There was a bright side to the financials: Contributions totalled more than $295,000. According to the director, “This was, in part, due to a substantial contribution of over $150,000 from an estate. This individual always liked to remain anonymous, so I won’t mention a name, but apparently he or she thought pretty highly of us to leave us such a nice contribution.”

In a news release, the director pointed out, “Many people use these last few weeks of the year to complete their charitable giving for this tax year.” She offered guidelines and advice:

• A pledge is not deductible until the funds have actually been paid.

• The gift value for publicly-traded stock is the average between the highest and lowest sale price on the gift’s date. For end-of-year gifts, it is very important that the transfer be effective by Dec. 31. Written confirmation that the charity has taken actual possession of the stock or that the financial services firm has transferred the shares to the charity’s account must be in the donor’s tax records.

• If property over $5,000 other than publicly-traded securities is gifted to charity, a qualified independent appraisal must be obtained.

• Generally cash and check gifts are deductible when the charity receives them. If a check is sent in the mail, the mailing date is the deduction’s effective date. She emphasized, “In order to deduct a gift this year, you must be certain that the gift was made or mailed by Dec. 31.”

What’s on the foundation’s holiday wish list? New office furniture was Lunsford’s reply. “We have a strong volunteer base as of now, but if anyone is interested in volunteering, they can contact us.”

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