Enhancing the Foundation

A foundation dedicated to improving the lives of local community members recently rolled out a new website.

The Enhance Hamilton County Foundation’s new website, located at enhancehamiltoncounty.org, contains much information. Darcy Swon, with InTANDEM Marketing who developed the website, said it shares information on how people can give to the organization, whether they be an individual, family or business.

The website also contains information about the Foundation’s activities, board members, and more. Swon said that the website provides links to the website’s social media pages. The website also has a section for grants that have been given out to community groups.

“To date, we’ve given roughly $479,000 back to the community to help make it a better place,” Swon said.

The Foundation will give more grant funds, just under $80,000, to community organizations at a grant award ceremony on April 29. However, Enhance Hamilton County Foundation president Brian Holt said the group prefers to think in the long-term.

“We have been known as a granting agency of funds,” Holt said. “Few people understand the endowment side of what we’re doing. We can provide services to people to leave family legacies.”

Holt said that he often encounters people during his work with the Foundation that want to use estate funds after a family member has passed away to go towards local charitable efforts. While the Foundation can put that money to good use in the near future, they can also grow that money through an endowment, which will grow that initial fund and give out grant money year after year.

For example, Holt said an endowment fund that is established with $10,000 would give out $9,500 in cumulative grants in 15 years, and would grow to a $16,000 balance in funds. Fifty years after the endowment is established, that balance will be about $57,000, with $66,000 in grants given out since the endowment was established.

Endowments established through the Foundation can be tailored to give to any cause that would improve the lives of residents of Hamilton County. Holt said those endowment funds could be focused on anything from arts and culture to education, environmental, health programs and more. The Foundation can also set up seed funds which can take donations from different parties in order to establish an endowment.

The Foundation also exists as a resource for other local nonprofit groups.

“We not only look at helping individuals set up those legacies, but we also look to help those nonprofits have their needs met as well,” Swon said.

The Foundation provides resources and referrals for other nonprofit groups. Holt said a lot of those groups are helped through the Foundation’s affiliation with the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, which is affiliated with community foundations in 30 counties across Iowa.