Building a Brighter Future Through Endowments
Why donors and their families choose to make a lasting impact.
As the foundation entered its second decade, the conversation about its future shifted from its initial gifts to planning for long-term success. Endowments provided the perfect opportunity for donors to create a lasting legacy and stay connected to the community.
Dayton and Sheri Coles saw that opportunity for connection firsthand when they created the Golden Rule Fund, a fund that supports organizations that embody the mission of “do unto others.” The fund was created in recognition of Centre Foundation founder, R. Paul Campbell, with whom Dayton worked as an attorney in State College.
Since it was established, the fund has supported organizations including Discovery Space, Global Connections, and the State College Friends School. Dayton and Sheri now live in California, but the fund creates a lasting connection for them to the place they lived in and loved for many years.
“Our time in State College was a golden time when we raised our kids, began our careers, and then retired from our careers,” Sheri Coles said. “Our time there was really fruitful in many ways and the fund allows us to feel like we left a little footprint in the area. Centre Foundation has always felt very wonderful to both of us.”
Employing the Impact of Investing
Gordon and Alice Kissinger wanted to create long-lasting impact for individuals with intellectual disabilities in honor of their son, Jack, who was stricken with encephalitis at age four and suffered intellectual disabilities for the rest of his life. They chose to establish an endowment fund at Centre Foundation that would benefit The Arc of Centre County.
The Gordon D. and Alice R. Kissinger Fund in Memory of Jack Kissinger clearly demonstrates the power of Centre Foundation endowments: sustainably creating growth while supporting the community.
The fund was established in 1993 with a gift of $100,000. Since then, it has grown in value to over $134,000 and as it grew, it continued to provide grants totaling over $129,000 to The Arc. That growth, plus granting, has resulted in the initial $100,000 gift providing over $163,000 of value to the community. And it will continue to grant and grow for years to come.
The Kissingers’ legacy of working to support the community was carried on by another son, Fred Kissinger, who continued their work in their tradition by opening two funds: one that supports individuals with disabilities and one that supports students in the State College Area School District.
Fred’s son, Brian Kissinger, recalls his family’s generosity and humility. “My grandparents did all this to help people with disabilities and my parents did the same,” he said. “They didn’t want anyone to do anything special for them; the intent was always about helping the endowment.” Brian continues their legacy by pitching in behind the scenes for the organizations his family has long supported.
Enhancing Resources for Organizations
Endowments provide a consistent source of funding for nonprofits, establishing a baseline from which to plan the rest of their fundraising activities.
Schlow Centre Region Library has seen the power of endowments firsthand. Molly Hetrick, the library’s manager of philanthropy, said that endowments at Centre Foundation are vitally important to the library’s operations and growth.
“When a donor places their money with Centre Foundation and designates it to benefit Schlow Library, it provides a stable base of expected income for budgetary and operational planning,” Hetrick said. “Future programs, event ideas, collection development, and more are impacted by the generosity of these funds.”
Hetrick said the library appreciates the stewardship the foundation provides and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the money is secure so the library’s staff can focus more time and energy on serving its patrons and the community.
Endowment funding has also helped Strawberry Fields meet special and emerging needs that other funding sources do not allow for. Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Pasquinelli, said the organization’s endowments have diversified its income in positive ways and help donors create a lasting commitment to its work.
“Strawberry Fields is extremely grateful to have two endowment funds that benefit our programs through Centre Foundation,” Pasquinelli said. “An endowment gives an organization an opportunity to start a new initiative with funding that has very few limitations. We’ve been the recipient of contributions from many first-time donors who were influenced by the endowments we currently have in place.”
Looking Forward: Fulfilling Donors’ Goals
The 1990s were a decade of shoring up the financial framework of Centre Foundation. From there, the foundation was poised for a period of rapid growth that started in the new millennium and continues today. Read the full magazine here!