Last October, a Hagerstown couple and a foundation named for a Washington County aviation pioneer pledged $5 million in a challenge designed to get local nonprofit organizations to start their own endowment funds.
Last week that generosity paid off for 16 local groups, which will get the opportunity to win matching money to build a fund to offset their expenses for many years to come.
The challenge was launched through the Community Foundation of Washington County by John and Margaret Waltersdorf and the Richard A. Henson foundation. To spur interest, both agreed to provide up to $500,000 annually for five years.
To get that money, the nonprofits chosen must agree to raise a matching amount over the next five years. An agency raising $100,000 would end up with a $200,000 endowment and earn about $10,000 per year in cash.