By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
DETROIT – The Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan has announced the availability of $1 million in matching funds for gifts to agency endowments. The $1 million is in addition to a $5 million fund from which the agency was already providing matching grants to endowments. The funds, which were provided by The Kresge Foundation, are available to non-profit agencies including Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center, The Triangle Foundation and AIDS Partnership Michigan.
Endowments are “rainy-day” funds that are only used in case of emergency, not for everyday operating expenses. Endowments are of greatest use to non-profits when they become large enough to provide a sustainable source of investment income.
With help from the Community Foundation, both Affirmations and Triangle are well on their way to creating profitable endowments.
Michael Mirto, director of development for Affirmations, called the Community Foundation matching grants “a crucial part of our Open the Doors endowment and capital campaign.”
Mirto said that, of the $480,000 that his organization has already raised, $125,000 came from matching funds made available by the Community Foundation.
Mirto said of the potential for earning additional matching funds, “This is all really important to Affirmations, because we have a goal of reaching $5.3 million for our capital and endowment campaign by the end of January.” The deadline is important because the Kresge foundation has pledged $400,000 to the community center if they reach their fundraising goal. Affirmations only needs to raise an additional $220,000 to meet the campaign’s $5.3 million goal.
“This is the first time that we’ve had such an endowment, which is crucial to helping with our operating expenses,” Mirto said.
Kevin McAlpine, director of development for Triangle, also stressed the importance of endowment funds to his organization’s success.
“The endowment specifically will help Triangle Foundation ensure the long-term viability of the organization to work on statewide issues,” such as lobbying for LGBT rights in Lansing and victim advocacy, he said.
Triangle established its endowment in September of this year, beginning with a “generous” gift from founding board member Dr. Henry Messer and other donors, McAlpine said. In only four months, Triangle has built an endowment of $250,000, of which $65,000 has come from matching grants from the Community Foundation.
McAlpine said that the Community Foundation matching grants have helped Triangle “build our endowment in a way that we would have never been able to do without this matching program.”
Another Community Foundation recipient, AIDS Partnership Michigan, has balanced the need for an endowment with the more urgent need for operating dollars, said Executive Director Barbara Murray.
“As of today we have three donors that have given us a total of $7,000, which generated $3,500 in match monies from the Community Foundation,” Murray said. With the Community Foundation’s help, APM now has an endowment of $10,000.
“I think it’s a superb program,” Murray said. “It’s really cool, and my hat is off to Mariam Noland, the president of the Community Foundation, for putting this together.”
Noland said that the matching grant funds are also available for the HOPE Fund, which, “makes grants to all kinds of organizations in the LGBT community.”
“It’s really the most successful fund of its type in the country,” she said.
Noland said that about $900,000 in matching dollars are still available on a “first come, first match” basis.
“Send a check ASAP,” she said, laughing.
Individuals who donate to help build the endowments of organizations important to the LGBT community can earn a tax credit for 2005. Gifts of $1,000 or more are eligible for a fifty percent match. A donation of $1,000 to Triangle, Affirmations, APM or the Hope Fund will result in a total $1,500 investment in those organizations, and will allow donors to take $100 off of their Michigan taxes. While the Community Foundation won’t match gifts of less than $1,000, they are still eligible for the tax deduction.