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United Way creates endowment

May 17, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

James Taylor has a dream that the interest from endowment funds might someday offset 100 percent of the operating expenses of the United Way of Washington County.

That goal may be a long way off but Taylor, the United Way's executive director, said another step has been taken toward it with the recent creation of a United Way endowment fund at the Community Foundation of Washington County.

The newest fund was started with $10,000, Taylor said. Businesses and individuals may make donations to the fund, which is managed by the Community Foundation.

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United Way has two other endowments that were created in the 1950s through its own foundation but only one of those has money available to offset expenses. Taylor said that fund currently contains $165,000.

"The third is a $20,000 endowment fund which was established for just one particular charity," Taylor said.

Distributions from the new Community Foundation endowment fund are expected to be available starting in July 2004, said Brad Sell, executive director of the Community Foundation.

"With interest rates what they are today, I figure it would take at least $6 million in endowment funds to offset expenses 100 percent," Taylor said. "But we're working toward that goal."

In the most recent campaign, during which $1.6 million was pledged, $195,200 was earmarked for administrative and fund-raising costs and $48,800 was set aside for such programs as the annual Day of Caring.

The rest included $933,227 allocated to United Way's 21 member agencies, $225,497 to specific local agencies and $123,086 for charities in other geographical areas - the last two categories as designated by donors.

The 2003 United Way campaign will begin on Aug. 27 with The Day of Caring.

"This new endowment fund is very useful for us and it gives people another choice for their giving," Taylor said. "Plus, this new fund links United Way to the Community Foundation and that's a win-win proposition."

More money already goes directly to charities because Taylor cut United Way's fund-raising and administrative costs by 1 percent in 2002 - from $229,147 to $195,200, according to information from the agency.

United Way's administrative staff was reduced, the number of board members cut by nearly half, its accountability techniques strengthened and technological improvements made in an effort to be more efficient and effective, Taylor said at the annual meeting last March.

Donations to the new fund can be made payable to the Community Foundation of Washington County and sent to 14606 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown, MD, 21742. For more information, call 301-745-5210.

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