Money really does grow – if not on trees, in the capable hands of the local Community Foundation.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
When Weekly CEO Bradley Zeve first planted the seed of this year’s Community Fund initiative, Community Foundation for Monterey County President and CEO Todd Lueders guessed it might raise about $70,000.
“I’m glad I didn’t bet the farm on it,” he says. “I was way, way too conservative on that number.”
Readers dug deep; 1,609 people ponied up $429,336.85.
“That’s far surpassed anything that Bradley or I had fantasized about,” Lueders says. “The success of the Weekly’s campaign was one of the nice surprises of 2009.”
The community’s generosity, and the sheer number of nonprofit beneficiaries, meant countless hours of work for the valiant Community Foundation staff, who are already processing $11.4 million in donations for 2009. (The Weekly’s fund is one of more than 300 it manages.)
Much of the number-crunching fell to Kathryn Hart, the Foundation’s development assistant. And there are still hundreds of thank-you letters and tax documents to prepare.
“That is what I’ve been doing for what seems like my life now,” Hart jokes. “Our board president came into my office, and I said, ‘Welcome to Monterey County Weekly.’”
Although it was tedious, Hart counted more than 500 donors who had never given to the Community Foundation before. “There are a lot of people out there who are interested in these community initiatives, as opposed to donating to a foundation,” she says. “These donors were across the board from $0.27 to $60,000. We never could have seen this collection of people in any other way.”
Because the Weekly Community Fund’s match is limited to $100,000 and more than $429,000 was raised, nonprofit shares are pro-rated, with a $1 reader contribution triggering a match of a little over $0.23. In other words, nonprofits scored a percentage of matching funds equal to the percentage of total contributions it received. For example, Chartwell School, which raised a whopping $84,717.22, got 19.73 percent of total contributions – and a $19,732.11 match from the Weekly.
That brings Chartwell’s total grant to $104,449.33, more than double the $50,000 it originally applied for. International School of Monterey and Youth Arts Collective also topped the list, with totals above $73,000.
On the other end of the spectrum, three nonprofits didn’t receive a penny; eight more got less than $100.
Visit www.montereycountyweekly.com/communityfund for a list of contributions, matching funds, and total numbers of donors to each of the 73 participating nonprofits.