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Fund unveils plan for growth

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Bartholomew County’s largest community foundation aims to increase its $53 million in assets by $20 million more in the next five years.

Leaders of The Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County announced that goal at Thursday’s annual meeting in the Heritage Fund Room of Columbus’ Mill Race Center.

The gathering, organized around the theme of “Building Possibilities Together,” focused on a range of the fund’s work in 2012. But development committee chairman Tony Gambaiani said the coming months and next several years will center on building the permanent base of the foundation, the state’s fifth-largest.

He said that growth will be done through a combination of immediate permanent gifts and planned giving.


Tracy Souza, the fund’s president and chief executive officer, said she sees the goal as realistic.

“We definitely think we can get there,” Souza said. “But it’s not going to be easy.”

The fund in 2012 grew at a 14 percent rate, which board members described as healthy.

“We have decided that if we concentrate on planned gifts — talking to people about what they want to do with estate gifts and those kinds of things — and working with the investment community, we think we’re going to get there,” she said.

She said the board has been discussing the issue for at least six months.

Souza cited Heritage Fund board chairman Mickey Kim’s new fund as one great example of the fresh boost of permanent funds. All Heritage Fund board members have been asked to begin examining philanthropic interests important to them.

Kim, his wife Jenny, and daughters Besty, Maggie and Emily, recently launched the BME Sisters Scholarship Fund.

Once the fund grows to $20,000 within two years, college scholarships will be available to recommended North senior females with a link to either athletics or publications. That’s because the Kim girls, now ages 15 to 23, have been into both of those pursuits.

“We think this is a good way to engage your children in philanthropy,” Kim said, pointing out that his girls were involved in scholarship guidelines and details.

Development committee chairman Gambaiani said the public will know more soon about possibilities to help the cause.

“Over the next months, you will continue to hear more about our initiatives and ways you can participate,” Gambaiani said told those at the meeting.

One example he highlighted is the fund’s Gifts of Grain program. This program allows local farmers to donate gifts of corn, soybeans and wheat at prearranged local elevators and to designate the proceeds to Heritage Fund.

“We wanted to find a way that they could contribute to the foundation that spoke directly to their passion and impact on our community,” Gambaiani said.

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