Strengthening the Foundation

Bequest by unidentified benefactor will help double the OCCF funds, aid local groups

EVART – The annual Osceola County Community Foundation Dinner and Auction fundraiser last Thursday offered organizers an opportunity to honor some special supporters, give a quick review of the past year and raise some much needed funds to help cover administrative expenses.

It also gave OCCF president Alan Bengry a forum in which to announce a piece of organizational news that will change the way the Foundation does “business” completely.

During his short report to those assembled at the auction, Bengry announced that sometime in months to come, OCCF organizers expect legal issues to be completed on the presentation of a gift bequested to the Foundation by an unidentified benefactor – a gift that will fully double the amount of money held in the organization’s funds.

“We are very excited, and extremely grateful, for this unbelievably generous gift that has been bequested the Community Foundation,” noted Bengry.

“There are several pieces to this gift. Some involve cash accounts. Others involve real estate holdings. All come from the same person.

“At this time, attorneys and the estate representatives are working to close everything in proper order. This is quite an involved process but we’ve been informed that by the end of this year the bequest should be finalized.”

While a final figure has yet to be announced, the bequest to the Foundation is expected to virtually double the assets of the Foundation.

To date, there are just over $3.25 million dollars being held in various OCCF accounts and endowments.

“By any measure, this is a very, very significant gift,” said Bengry.

“By Osceola County standards, this is huge. Very substantial.

“The moneys from this particular bequest will be placed in a fund that has already been established. It will be used to increase our grant awarding ability.”

Bengry said he believed that even with a very conservative accounting, OCCF grant awards distributed annually will increase to some $200,000.

“Today, we are able to award $75,000-80,000 in any given year,” he pointed out. “This will effectively double - and then some - the amount we are able to award in support of community projects that are meant to improve the quality of life for all residents of our county.

“This is very exciting.”

Bengry noted that not only was the bequest itself exciting, he was also very, very pleased that the people working with the Foundation in years to come would have little, if any, concerns over economic strain on the organization’s coffers.

“From here on out, we are facing an exciting time,” he said.

“This will make things quite a bit easier for Foundation board members in the future, and it will make it a lot easier to give out more money in support of worthy projects that meet the criteria.

“We don’t expect to change our disbursement policies. There will still be strict criteria to fulfill when applying for grants from the Foundation, but this gift will obviously make the awarding of funding to good projects that much comfortable.”

When the bequest legalities are finalized, Foundation board members expect there will be a formal announcement.

Bengry was quick to point out that while this substantial bequest was exciting in size and scope, every gift, bequest, donation, and endowment offered the Foundation - large or small - is a “blessing” and will be put to good use in promoting all things good in Osceola County.

“It really isn’t just the one-time huge gifts we receive that keep this organization going,” he said.

“We continue to depend on those who give us $25, or $50, or $100 in any given year that really help this Foundation continue the work it does.

“We also continue to need people who are willing to serve on a committee or help in organizing events such as the auction we held last week.

‘It’s personal involvement that will really move the OCCF forward.”