Community Foundation Announces Matching Fund Challenge

The Board President of the Outer Banks Community Foundation announced a new “Matching Fund Challenge” for nonprofits at the foundation’s annual meeting on February 16.

Speaking to an audience of over 100 community leaders and philanthropists, Teresa Osborne announced that up to 10 nonprofits would receive grants of $3,500 each to build and publicize a new or existing endowment fund held at the Community Foundation. The awards would include a $2,500 matching grant for the endowment fund, and another $1,000 to publicize it.

An additional five other nonprofits that already have endowments with the Community Foundation would receive $1,000 “Marketing Mini-Grants” to publicize their funds.

“Nonprofit endowment funds are permanent funds that are invested by the Community Foundation on behalf of a nonprofit to sustain that organization into the future,” explained Ms. Osborne. “With this Matching Fund Challenge, we hope to help our local nonprofits create, build, and promote endowment funds to benefit their mission for generations to come.”

Nonprofits can receive annual distributions from their endowment fund for any charitable purpose — up to 5% of the fund balance — while the principal remains invested in perpetuity. Since 1993, the Community Foundation’s average annual rate of return on investments has been over 8.8%, net of investment fees.

“Normally, the minimum to start a nonprofit endowment at the Community Foundation is $5,000,” said Ms. Osborne. “With this matching grant opportunity, however, the organization needs to raise only $2,500. The Community Foundation will contribute the remaining $2,500 needed — and we will provide $1,000 for the nonprofit to promote its fund to potential donors.”

“The Matching Grant Challenge could not come at a better time for nonprofits,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s Executive Director. “Here on the Outer Banks, the competition for grants, donations, and business sponsorships has become incredibly fierce. An endowment fund, on the other hand, can provide easy, reliable income for a nonprofit for countless years ahead.”

There is no application necessary to participate in the Matching Fund Challenge. Starting Monday, February 20, any nonprofit serving the Outer Banks can sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested nonprofits should first contact Lorelei Costa (252-261-8839) to confirm availability and to confirm that they meet certain eligibility requirements (e.g., 501c3 status; see our FAQ for more details). To reserve their spot in the Challenge, groups must sign a letter of intent, which will be provided by the Community Foundation. Groups have through November 30, 2017 to raise or contribute the matching funds necessary.

More than 40 nonprofits across the Outer Banks already partner with the Community Foundation for endowment management. Among them are the Beach Food Pantry, Outer Banks SPCA, Ocracoke Youth Center, Elizabethan Gardens, Interfaith Community Outreach, Bryan Cultural Series, Chicamacomico Historical Association, Dare County Arts Council, Outer Banks YMCA, Dare Education Foundation, Food for Thought, Ocracoke Preservation Society, First Flight Society, and Outer Banks Relief Foundation. Many of these organizations started their funds in 2006, when the Community Foundation held its last Matching Fund Challenge.

“This is an opportunity for organizations that have never worked with us, as well as groups that have funds with us already but want to grow them,” said Ms. Costa. “Six of the 10 matching grants will be initially reserved for nonprofits that are starting a fund for the first time, but charities with existing funds can also sign up for the Challenge to add to their funds.”

The $1,000 Marketing Mini-Grants are another way that organizations with existing funds can grow their endowments. Additionally, the Community Foundation will be offering a free Legacy Fundraising Seminar in the fall of 2017 to any local nonprofit to introduce the concepts of charitable endowments and fundraising for planned gifts.

Any interested organization that misses the Matching Fund Challenge in 2017 will have another chance in 2018, when the Community Foundation board intends to renew the Challenge in some iteration.

For more information, please review the links below, and contact Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839. Nonprofits can sign up for the 2017 Matching Fund Challenge and Marketing Mini-Grants starting Monday, February 20 by contacting Lorelei.

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