Foundation doles out $287,960 to local non-profits

$519,000 requested by 64 applicants

WENDY STIVER/THE EXPRESS Members of the Clinton County Community Foundation board are, from left, back, Douglas Miller, Mike Snow, Stuart Hall; middle, Elizabeth Arnold, Lana Muthler, Yvonne Weaver; front, Darlene Weaver, Dr. John Brandt, Allan Lugg Jr., Reed Morton. Absent from the photo was Rev. Don Grant.

LOCK HAVEN — Giving money away should be easy! Right?

Not so much when you are tasked with comparing the wants and needs of 64 non-profit organizations in the county, all of whom have applied for a piece of the grant money available through the Clinton County Community Foundation Inc.

The Foundation board spent more than three hours on Wednesday discussing each of the multi-page applications and then deciding which ones should be approved and for how much money.

The total amount of money requested by applicants this year was $519,000.

And the board takes its job very seriously, examining the 12-inch thick stack of applications carefully and then talking about each one, all the while trying to spread the grant money as far as it will go and to the most worthy non-profits.

When all was said and done, the board approved grants totaling $287,960.02 for this year.

Since its inception 50 years ago, the Foundation has approved grants in excess of $5.4 million to qualifying organizations in the county.

The Clinton County Community Foundation was formed in 1968 with its purpose being to distribute funds to non-profit organizations within the county to help with special projects. These funds are available through income generated from the investment of bequests and gifts given by individuals who believe in the Foundation and Clinton County.

The market value of the Foundation’s assets as of Dec. 31, 2017 was $7,552,138.

During its annual business meeting, which preceded the review and approval of applications, the board introduced two new board members — Elizabeth Arnold, representing Lock Haven University, and Douglas Miller, Region 1 representative. A third new member, Rev. Don Grant, was absent from the meeting.

Others on the 11-member board in attendance were Allan Lugg Jr., Lana Muthler, Darlene Weaver, Dr. John P. Brandt, Reed Morton, Yvonne Weaver, Stuart Hall and Michael J. Snow.

A nominating committee — Brandt, Miller and Hall — was named to come up with a replacement for Brandt, whose term expires at the end of this year. He also serves as president, so that position must also be filled.

The board unanimously approved the investment committee’s recommendation that the total return distribution percentage would be 4.5 percent, as has been the norm in the recent past. And the board added Snow to the investment committee, joining staff members Jackie Parucha and Amanda Keiffer, board members Brandt and Darlene Weaver, and “Of Counsel” Robert Lugg. The board gave consent for Keiffer to pursue using email and other electronic means for applicants to submit their applications and also to send the applications to board members for review.

“It’s a much easier way to get the applications to board members. We can also provide hard copies for those who desire them,” Keiffer said. “It just makes sense. We killed a couple of trees for these,” she said pointing to the hundreds of pages of paper used for the copies of applications for board members’ review.

Remarking about the growth of the foundation over 50 years, from an initial $40,000 donation that created the organization in 1968 and now over $7.5 million, the board discussed hiring an executive director. To date, Foundation operations have been handled by the Luggs in the Lugg & Lugg law offices.

“The Foundation just keeps getting bigger and bigger… now $7.5 million… soon it will be $10 million… and everything happens out of Robert’s office,” Brandt said, suggesting perhaps it’s time to make a move.

Robert Lugg said the change “might enable us to be more visible and charitable in the community… make us a more solicitous group. We need to think about it.”

“With growth comes expense,” Brandt said.

“When we go to an executive director there will be administration fees,” he said, suggesting that a personnel committee be appointed to look into the idea of an executive director and look toward Centre County’s Foundation for help. “They are easy to talk to and can help us… give us some ideas. We do okay, but I think we could do better.”

“We get the most bang for our buck here because our costs are low,” Robert Lugg said.

Snow agreed to chair the personnel committee, with Brandt and Robert Lugg as committee members.

Arnold agreed to to be “public relations coordinator” to get news about the foundation published in The Express…. including a 50th anniversary article this year.

The board approved Lea Ann Plessinger as auditor for 2018 at a cost not to exceed $4,725.