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  • Kristine Gale

Rock County Successfully Completes $200,000 Challenge Grant

The Rock County Community Fund (RCCF), an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation is thrilled to announce that the Sherwood Campaign Challenge has been successful and is complete! A huge thank you to all of the generous donations from so many who care about the future of Rock County.

The goal of the campaign was to raise $200,000 in unrestricted endowment funds. Once this goal is achieved, The Sherwood Foundation of Omaha granted the RCCF an additional $100,000 in matching funds. In other words, for every $2.00 donated in unrestricted gifts to the permanent endowment by December 31, 2018, The Sherwood Foundation granted $1.00 in unrestricted funds to the permanent endowment, up to a maximum of $100,000. The immediate impact of an additional $300,000 in our unrestricted endowment will increase annual granting to over $30,000; significantly improving and enhancing our county-wide community.

Currently, the RCCF has a balance over $700,000 in the Unrestricted Endowment Fund. Even though the Fund was just started in 2014, it’s been able to grow to such a sizable amount because of the generosity of many donors who care about Rock County. Two different match campaigns have played a pivotal part in growing the endowment to its current size. The first was a match grant from Francis Kramer, a former Rock County citizen who passed away in 2016. Mr. Kramer offered that if the RCCF would raise $100,000 within a one year timeline, he would match it with $50,000. RCCF was successful in raising the full $100,000 in only 6 months. The second matching grant is the Sherwood match campaign that was just completed. “I was impressed by the outpouring of generosity from those from Rock County and those that have ties to Rock County. I am excited about the potential of the Rock County Community Fund to continue to give back to our community for years to come”, said Jim Nelson, member of the RCCF committee.

Unrestricted Endowment Funds are funds where the principal stays intact and the income is like a checking account that can be used to fund charitable activities. Since the principal remains intact, the endowment is set up to benefit Rock County forever. “An endowment to a community is like land to a rancher…it is our future. An endowment is the greatest asset that a small community can have because it will be there forever, giving year after year to build the community,” said Larry Buell, Chairman of the RCCF campaign committee.

The funds are invested with the Nebraska Community Foundation, which has historically earned more than 7% on its endowment. The endowment has a spending policy that allows RCCF to spend 4.5% annually. This percentage should let RCCF make significant grants and allow the endowment to grow over time offsetting the impact of inflation. The 4.5% is calculated based on the balance of a 12 quarter (3 years) rolling average. Calculating the income based on this average has a smoothing effect to the income so there are not considerable changes from year to year unless a sizable new donation has been added to the principal. Since the fund is still fairly new and we have had sizable contributions to our endowment, the income should grow from less than $5,000 in 2017 to over $25,000 in 2019 and should remain above $30,000 each year thereafter.

The Rock County Community Fund Committee, made up of local citizens, makes all the decisions on how grant money is spent. Grants may be given to other 501(c)(3) organizations or public entities. Community Funds can be granted to programs and projects that benefit the community as a whole. Individuals may not receive grants from the unrestricted endowment fund. Rock County Community Fund was able to start making grants in 2016. They have granted to the Newport Fire Hall Project, the KBR Leadership Academy, and the Rock County Senior Center. To date, RCCF has given over $5,000 but that will increase significantly through the years. Thanks for your support!

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