MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Foundation used an unconventional method Wednesdasy to celebrate its 75th anniversary Wednesday -- via Zoom and Facebook Live.
“Today was supposed to be a celebration of 75 years of service to Richland County,” said Brady Groves, president of the Richland County Foundation. “I’m positive that we have continued with the mantra of leadership and strategic grant making to improve the lives of the people in Richland County.”
Chairwomen Julie McCready hinted that the board hopes to commemorate the foundation’s 75-year history at its next annual meeting.
“We are hopeful and thankful and thoughtful that next year we’re going to be sharing more about what’s going to happen with our 75th anniversary,” she said.
After McCready recognized current and former trustees and foundation staff, Groves discussed the foundation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After consulting with local leaders in the health and human services sector, the foundation’s board of trustees opted to direct all unrestricted community grant dollars to COVID-19 related projects.
The board has committed $530,000 to non-profit organizations in Richland County and offered these funds on a rolling basis based on need. Initial grants focused on the health and human services sector.
“We were built for this,” Groves said.
In April, the foundation relaunched its popular Richland Gives campaign to help other nonprofits that have lost regular revenue due to social distancing.
“We also recognize that there are others in the non-profit sector that are also hurting. There’s loss of revenue, either through ticket sales or fundraisers, and we wanted to be responsive there,” Groves said. “Through the efforts and generosity of our community, we were able to raise $38,000 of general operating support for these nonprofits.”
Groves also shared some 2019 highlights, with an overview of some of the programs and organizations supported by the Foundation, including Meals on Wheels, Woodland Elementary School, the Humane Society of Richland County, Catalyst Life Services and various beautification efforts throughout the county.
The foundation gave away approximately $6.3 million for the betterment of Richland County in 2019.
“Thankfully our board has been very thoughtful in our process since the last economic downturn in 2008, starting to look at ways we could mitigate losses, creating alternative funds,” Groves said. “While we've suffered losses like everybody else, we’ve been in a position where maybe we’ve softened some of those losses because of the foresight of the finance committee and our Clearstead, our finance advisor.”
McCready ended the meeting with the announcement of a new fund within the Foundation, created by and in honor of the organization’s current and former trustees.
The monies in the “For good. Forever. Past Trustee Fund” were raised by current board members.
Over the past 75 years, there have been 162 trustees on the board of the Richland County Foundation.
McCready read the fund description, which states that the fund exists to provide financial support for programs that create a spirit of philanthropy amongst the past, present and future residents of Richland County in order to enhance the work of the Richland County Foundation within the community.
“We see this fund as being shared by past trustees as well as current trustees,” McCready said. “You’re trying to secure a legacy, along with a lasting connection with the Foundation and also to build that awareness within the community of how trustees catalyze the work of the Foundation.”