October 30, 2018

Endowment Expert enlisted for Fundraising Effort

By Julio Morales, Imperial Valley Press

El Centro, CA. October 30, 2018. A renowned endowment development specialist is scheduled to speak this Thursday as part of an ongoing effort to establish a local wellness foundation that would potentially oversee a $25 million endowment.

Thursday’s workshop is hosted by the San Diego-based Alliance Healthcare Foundation, which provides financial assistance to eligible healthcare initiatives in San Diego and Imperial counties. Since July, AHF has been proposing to help fund the establishment of a wellness foundation whose local board of directors would oversee a $25 million endowment to fund local nonprofits’ healthcare initiatives.

“It’s a bold idea,” said Greg Hall, a consultant helping AHF with the endowment effort. “But Alliance would not put out the idea if they didn’t think the people of Imperial County could get it done.”

Helen Monroe, a Riverside County-based consultant who worked for 25 years for the Lilly Endowment, is scheduled to speak at the workshop Thursday, which marks the third such event hosted by AHF this month in the Valley. Prior to her retirement, Monroe was successfully able to expand the number of foundations in the state of Indiana, which as of today now have an estimated $2 billion in combined assets, Hall stated.

Thursday’s workshop will provide participants with information about the range of effective processes and approaches that can be used to raise funds for the proposed wellness foundation. Previous AHF workshops had provided local stakeholders with information and assistance about how to draft and submit a successful request for proposal (RFP) to obtain a $175,000 grant that would support the proposed wellness foundation’s planning, organizing and fund development efforts. The $175,000 grant is likely to be awarded in December, AHF reported.

In order to establish the $25 million endowment, local stakeholders are being asked to raise $17.5 million by June 30, 2020, which would then be matched by a $7.5 million grant from AHF. AHF’s matching grant of $7.5 million is being held in reserve until June 30, 2020.

“The Alliance board of directors wants this to succeed, so they will do whatever they can do to make this successful,” Hall said.

The Internal Revenue Service requires that a private foundation spend at least 5 percent of its assets on grants, Hall said. If obtained, the $25 million that is sought to fund the proposed wellness foundation would have a little more than $1 million to expend on grants and operations in perpetuity, he said.

Previous AHF workshops had revealed some local stakeholders’ doubts about the ability to raise $17.5 million for the proposed wellness foundation. In the past, AHF has awarded grants to local non-profits whose efforts have contributed to the health and wellness of local residents. The awarding of such grants will continue in the long term should the effort to establish a local wellness foundation prove unsuccessful, said Hall, who acknowledged neither he nor the AHF board are currently willing to concede the possibility of failing to raise the seed money.

“I’m not saying it’s easy, but there are people who know how to do it,” Hall said. “Throughout the country there are people who spend their whole lives raising money.”

Priority consideration for the RFP will be given to applicants that are culturally competent and committed to broad community inclusion; propose a thoughtful, iterative, and detailed process for steadily working toward and ultimately establishing the new health foundation; have a strong record of successful collaboration across different sectors; can leverage the experience of multiple partners; and demonstrate the capacity to effectively and cost efficiently manage a team of staff, volunteers and consultants, the RFP stated.

Applicants are welcome to submit an RFP to AHF by the 12 p.m. Dec. 4, deadline via

Thursday’s workshop will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Imperial County Farm Bureau, 1000 Broadway, El Centro.

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