Morris Herald-News – Local News and Videos from Grundy County, Illinois

 

Endowing education on our children

Published: Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 5:30 a.m. CDT

 

Back-to-school time – yeah! For my family, that means marching band – parades, high school football, competitions, and for the first time, college football!

It’s also a good time to talk about education and how donors can endow what they care about.

Let’s start with what’s most familiar – scholarships. There are many scholarships available to high school students in Grundy County.

For some at-risk students, this may be their only opportunity to go to college. For other students it is an acknowledgement of their 12 years of hard work.

We are thrilled that almost all of the funds that we hold for scholarships are endowed, meaning the principle is invested in perpetuity and the income is distributed for scholarships annually – forever.

But the education sphere is so different than when most of these scholarships were created, so let’s brainstorm about how donors can design endowments to meet all sorts of today’s educational needs.

First, there is no “typical” college student these days. Each school has a diverse mix of students who are of different races, religions and home countries; of varying disabilities; from high-income and low-income families; straight-A students, remedial students, students who know exactly what they want to study and students struggling to find a niche; single students, married students, students who are parents, students who are fresh out of high school, students coming back to finish a degree, and students who are older and looking to get that first degree in middle age.

There are also many choices of post-high school quality education that prepares students for great careers – or helps gain that next level of advancement: tech schools, apprenticeships in the trades, community college, private colleges, certificates, online courses, and traditional universities for bachelor’s, master’s and
Ph. D. degrees.

If you have an affinity and empathy for any of these students in today’s schools, you can design a scholarship to help them with their hurdles.

Scholarships don’t have to be for tuition, either. There are many expenses affiliated with advanced education: housing, meals, fees, books, child care, tutors and more. It’s often the stresses outside the classroom that cause a student to perform poorly or drop out of school.

If scholarship isn’t your thing, there are other great ways that donors can support education at all levels:

  • Do you hear about teachers buying school supplies with their own money? Set up an endowment to forever provide funds for this purpose.
  • Have you heard of someone “endowing a chair” at a university? You can do the same thing at the K-12 level. If you don’t want a program cut, you can endow that program so that it doesn’t get cut as a decision of the school board and administration.
  • What about extracurricular activities? Do you want the band to be able to travel to that Bowl game? What about the drama club traveling to the city for a world premiere? What about bringing in an award-winning coach to speak to athletes? Donors can design endowments to achieve any of these goals – and more.
  • Do you want the local public schools to not have to be so reliant on property taxes and state cutbacks? Many of our local schools have endowments and most of them are held here at the Community Foundation. The higher their endowments, the more annual income they get that isn’t tied to taxes and state decisions. Consider a gift to these endowments are part of your living charitable giving plan or as part of your estate plan.

Flexibility is why we call donor funds “donor designed funds.” You as the donor can design a fund to meet your charitable giving goals, solve a problem in the community, and fund it with the assets of your choice.

For information, call us at 941-0852 or email [email protected].

Remember, don’t give to a community foundation; give through a community foundation.

 

by Julianne Buck

Executive Director

Community Foundation of Grundy County