The WCCF promotes and facilitates philanthropy by serving as a Grantmaker, a Donor Service Organization, a Fundraiser, and a Community Leader.
The Foundation operates a broad grants program to multiple grantees which is not limited to a single focus or cause or exclusively to the interests of a particular constituency. Each year we award some grants from discretionary resources, through an open and competitive process that seeks to address the changing and unmet needs of Washington County.
In 2019, the Foundation conducted a special grant cycle for our smallest community-based libraries, awarding a total of $170,000. In addition to improving services for patrons of all ages and all backgrounds, these library grants helped the libraries to continue their transformations into vibrant community centers. Grants of $126,000 were awarded to local first responder organizations including volunteer fire departments and emergency management organizations. Grants of $45,000 were awarded to public school districts to purchase technology and other materials.
Post-secondary scholarships totaling $306,000 were awarded to local students, the largest of which was $72,000 to a single student. Scholarships of $115,000 were awarded to financially-needy families for students attending one of several private K-12 educational institutions in the area.
In addition to grant-making funds whose specific charitable purposes were defined by the donors at the time the funds were created, the Foundation also manages five permanent pooled grant-making funds, with contributions received by multiple donors who share a common charitable interest. The Arts Fund benefits arts education, arts appreciation, and cultural and historic projects in our community. The Mother's Fund supports disadvantaged women and children. The Vision Fund supports vision services in Washington County, with an emphasis on supporting visually-impaired youth from birth to age 18. The Animal Fund supports programs that provide care and protection of animals in Washington County. The Acorn Fund supports emerging and unmet needs in the community.
The Foundation works to educate and engage donors in identifying and addressing community issues and grant-making opportunities. We accept and administer a diversity of gift and fund types to meet the varied philanthropic objectives of our donors and the needs of Washington County. In 2019 we hosted several post-secondary scholarship receptions to provide the opportunity for donors to meet and interact with student recipients. Also, we provide individual assistance and research services to donors regarding area non-profits. As a service to donors, we maintain on our website a searchable database of more than 100 registered 501(c)(3) local charities providing services in Washington County, which have been vetted by the Foundation. Through several printed and electronic publications, the Foundation helps to educate donors regarding effective programs being offered by these charities.
The Foundation utilizes a comprehensive development plan to secure contributions from both individual and institutional donors. Development strategies include annual appeals, major gift solicitation, planned gift solicitation, capital campaigns, and event fundraising. Over the years, the Foundation has received many gifts of appreciated securities, several gifts of gas royalties, numerous bequests, as well as several IRA charitable transfers. We have also received two real estate gifts, one that was maintained for the Foundation’s charitable purposes, and one which was sold at auction. The Foundation owns several life insurance policies which insure the lives of specific donors and whose proceeds are targeted to specific charitable goals. The Foundation has been the beneficiary of several charitable remainder trusts, and received several Real Estate Limited Partnerships through an estate gift.
The Foundation works to identify and address community issues and opportunities and also serves as a leader and convener. The Foundation provides various educational programs and technical assistance to area charities.
Since 2013 the Foundation has hosted a county-wide day of giving for eligible charities serving Washington County to secure unrestricted financial support. Contributions received on WCCF Gives day are increased by a percentage of a $100,000 bonus pool. The WCCF does not charge any fees to the charities or to the donors to facilitate WCCF Gives. For the first time in its history, WCCF Gives 2019 resulted in grants of more than $1,000,000 to local charities.
The Foundation also administers the Heart of Giving Storybook project which seeks to educate the community about the important work being done by charities in Washington County. Stories, which are often written by Foundation volunteers, are included on a designated website of the Foundation, and are shared in various printed and electronic publications. There is no cost to charities for participating in the Storybook project.