Foundation reports major gifts for community?s benefit

Leaders of the Hillsboro Community Foundation led a celebration of past, present and anticipated activity during a community-wide appreciation dinner Tues?day, Nov. 9, at the Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church Activity Center.

Key announcements included receipt of a bequest exceeding $350,000 from the estate of Hills?boro resident Marga Ebel, a matching-fund grant of up to $300,000 from the Kansas Health Foundation and the appointment of HFC?s first staff person.

The financial developments, which included a fundraising campaign to take full advantage of the KHF matching grant, could push the combined assets of HCF to well over $1 million within six years, according to Keith Harder, chairman of the HCF board.

?We had about $250,000 in our Impact Fund, and with what we?ve already received from the Ebel estate and the Kansas Health Foundation, we now have about $600,000 under the foundation umbrella,? Harder said.

?If we receive the additional matching requirement and the rest of the Kansas Health Foundation grant, it will be in excess of $1 million.?

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Recent start

Hillsboro Community Foun?dation, formed four years ago, was launched with the successful completion of a community-wide campaign to raise $250,000 to establish the Impact Fund. That fund has resulted in local grants totaling $21,000 to 11 area service groups and organizations over the past three years.

Since then, several other endowed funds have been established under the HCF umbrella. Included are endowments to support park maintenance in Lehigh, the operation of the Hills?boro Senior Center and upkeep of the Scout House in Memorial Park.

The Ebel gift, which will qualify for about half of the matching funds awarded by KHF, will establish an endowment for the support of children?s health in the community.

That designation could include a range of causes, Harder said.

?It?s not health care?the Kansas Health Found?ation doesn?t want this money going to hospitals or doctors,? he said. ?They really want it to build wellness and encourage activities that promote health in the community.?

The KHF matching grant for Hillsboro was one of 12 announced last December as part of its GROW II program, which stands for Giving Resources to Our World Healthy Kansas Initiative.

The $300,000 will be applied to donor contributions to HCF over the next six years at a 2-to-1 or 4-to-1 match, depending on the designation of the gift. That would make a $1,000 charitable gift to the foundation worth either $1,250 or $1,500, Harder said.

Organizational support

In addition to the matching funds for health-related endowments, HCF will receive organizational training, one-on-one consulting and support from KHF as well as an annual operating grant of 3.5 percent of the matching grant award for six years.

For HCF, that means about $10,000 a year for operations.

?That?s what we?re using to fund Kathy Decker as our new executive director,? Harder said. ?(KHF) really want us to build up our infrastructure and ensure that these foundations will endure.?

Decker, who officially began the part-time position Nov. 1, worked for nearly 27 years with Great Plains Federal Credit Union in Hillsboro before retiring a couple of years ago.

In her new role, Decker will become the public face of the foundation in the Hillsboro area as well as assisting residents with their estate goals through HCF.

?As I?ve been getting oriented to the foundation and what it?s about, my own excitement has been building about it?it?s a very worthy thing,? Decker said.

?I think there?s a lot of people who don?t have any idea what the foundation is all about and what it does,? she added. ?Hope?fully, that will be part of my job?to see that more people do learn about the foundation and what they can do (through it).

?It?s a way to give back to your community and a way for people to know they can direct how their contributions will be used,? she added. ?It?s a legacy for them over the years. In that respect, it?s very beneficial for people doing estate planning.?

Celebration emphasis

Harder said the KHF matching grant has been in the works for more than a year and last Tuesday?s dinner was one way to share the good news with the community.

?We?ve been holding off from any kind of public announcement (about the matching grant) because we wanted to do some more strategic planning to leverage it as much as possible,? Harder said.

?In the meantime, we heard about the (Ebel) estate gift, which will cover approximately half of the matching requirement of the Kansas Health Foundation grant.?

Harder said the board downplayed the community fundraising campaign? estimated to be in the $400,000 range over six years?that will be required to make full use of the KHF matching grant.

?We really wanted to make it an appreciation and information night,? he said. ?We wanted to thank people who gave to the Impact Fund and helped with some of these other funds, and then to report that there are more opportunities for them to consider.

?We didn?t have people fill out pledge forms or really emphasize that we would be needing to receive additional money to realize the full potential of the KHF grant.?

The dinner program also included reports from two recipients of Impact Fund grants, Janet Whisenhunt representing the Hillsboro High School Chess Guild, and Jackie Rice representing Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marion County.

Larry Hatteberg, news anchor at KAKE-TV Channel 10, was the featured presenter.

Hillsboro Community Foundation can be contacted by mail at P.O. Box 273, Hillsboro, KS 67063 or by e-mail at hillsborocommunityfoundation@gmail.com.

HCF is in the process of establishing a phone connection for Decker and a Web site in the concept stage.

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