Greater Bend Rotary Club Foundation Overview
The Greater Bend Rotary Club Foundation has over the years been an invaluable partner in helping the club to carry out its broad goal of providing support for youth-related projects and activities.
Origins of the Foundation: In 1994, a small committee comprised of Steve Lelli, Steve Timm and Craig Moore was formed with the express purpose of pursuing “the formation of a charitable arm of the GBRC” – an endowment and tax-deductible vehicle that could supplement annual fundraising efforts. The original mission of the GBRC Foundation was “to provide a permanent fund from which youth-related projects may be funded. Emphasis will be placed on assisting students from the Bend-La Pine School District to pursue various paths of higher education, but shall not be limited to student aid.
Bylaws were created, Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State, a Board was seated, and in May of 1995 the GBRC Foundation was officially classified as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization by the IRS. Shortly thereafter, the GBRC Foundation adopted the concept of bestowing a “Bill Berg Fellow” to those members who had donated $1,000 cumulative to the club foundation, modeling the Paul Harris Fellow relationship with Rotary International Foundation. This honor was named after Bill Berg, a prominent member of this club who had served with distinction as Club President and as District 5110 Governor.
Initially, the club raised funds for its new endowment from a wide variety of sources - bequests, individual donations and the dedication of proceeds from the annual wine raffle - but this has changed in recent years. There have been no significant donations deposited to the endowment since 2006 and no wine raffle proceeds deposited since 2011 – all growth in the endowment has been solely a result of market returns. In 2011, the Foundation partnered with OCF and put its endowment ($263,331 at the time) into their Donor Advised Fund where it is professionally managed. The endowment has since grown to its current level of $327,623 (as of April 30, 2017) despite no additional deposits into the endowment since 2011 and annual distributions of approximately $12,000 per year.
Looking at beneficiaries, in the early years, club members volunteered their time to identify and interview potential scholarship applicants, but this practice was halted because of both increasing time constraints and worries over IRS regulations on independence. In 2005, a new approach was tried through a partnership with the COCC Foundation, a local organization which had the staffing capacity to review and select a wide range of students. The GBRC Foundation listed a number of criteria of the type of students we were looking to support and then turned the appropriate amount over to the COCC Foundation to distribute. Examples of some of the criteria included demonstrated financial need, full or part-time in-district student, preference for recent high school graduate, and minimum GPA of 2.0.
This approach worked well and the number of scholarships given out increased as the endowment grew - ranging from two $2,500 scholarships in 2006 to five $3,400 scholarships in 2013! But, following a club visioning process in 2011, there was a recognition that the landscape was different than in 2006 and the club foundation should review its policies, practices and even governing structure:/p>
• OSU-Cascades was a burgeoning new higher education institution and many club members felt it deserved a seat at the funding table
• There was a desire on the part of several club members to redirect some of the Foundation’s traditional funding sources toward current uses and/or to allow the endowment corpus (principle) to be spent on current projects
• There was a new effort – Perseverance Awards – which rewarded those at-risk students who had overcome many challenges and for whom high school graduation was a significant accomplishment in and of itself
• The original bylaws of the GBRC Foundation were not seen as conducive to alignment with the club as a whole and there were other club members who indicated a desire to serve on the Foundation Board. In response, over the past several years, under the leadership of multiple club Presidents and Foundation Board Chairs, there have been some significant changes with the GBRC Foundation:
2006 Current (through June 30, 2017)
Beneficiary: COCC Foundation as sole beneficiary
COCC Foundation remains a beneficiary – three $3,400 scholarships awarded
OSU-Cascades added as a beneficiary – three $1,500 scholarships awarded
Perseverance Awards added as a beneficiary – one $2,000 scholarship awarded (plus an additional $4,000 from the club itself); these funds are currently run through the Education Foundation for Bend-La Pine Schools
Source(s) of funding: 100% of wine raffle proceeds given to GBRC Foundation to put into the endowment
$6,000 of wine raffle proceeds given to GBRC Foundation (with the balance going to the Donations Committee for current grants); this amount is given to the GBRC Foundation to be used directly as scholarships and not put into the endowment (in fact, no additional funds have been put into the endowment since 2011)
501(c)3 status used to accept funds from outside organizations (e.g. First Presbyterian Church, private individuals) for various club projects
More flexible accounting procedures to allow GBRC Foundation to accept/track funds for World Community Service projects, Signature Project and other mutually agreed upon efforts
Board governance: Board members self-selected by existing GBRC Foundation Board members
Revamped GBRC Foundation Board structure initiated in 2016 with new members nominated by a committee consisting of one GBRC Foundation director, a past club president and a club member at large. The selected nominee(s) are then voted upon by the GBRC Foundation Board.
GBRC Foundation Board Members: Kyle Frick (Chair), Tom Counos, Cleme Rinehart, Greg Walsh, Randy Miller, Jim Petersen, Mike O’Neill, Bruce Abernethy (Past President)
Looking ahead: the GBRC Foundation is proposing the following as a Vision Statement:
The Greater Bend Rotary Club Foundation exists to support the aligned needs and aspirations of GBRC and Rotary International by providing financial support of youth activities, international projects, scholarships and community programs. We will be an active, learning organization that pursues new resources, provides sound fiduciary management of the resources with which we are entrusted, and is proactive in seeking club and club board guidance to maintain transparent, positive relationships with our members.