GOSHEN — After 25 years and millions of dollars in philanthropic giving, the Elkhart County Community Foundation is preparing to embark on its largest and most far-reaching grant campaign to date — and it needs the community’s help to make it happen.
Now entering its 25th anniversary year, the ECCF has been on quite a journey the past two years, due in no small part to a $150 million gift from the estate of Guy David Gundlach, a former Elkhartan and member of the foundation’s Legacy Society. Gundlach died unexpectedly in 2011 at the age of 56.
Since receiving the gift from Gundlach’s estate, the ECCF has been undergoing a comprehensive information-gathering campaign, coined the Community Listening Tour, seeking suggestions from the community on how best to utilize those funds moving forward into 2014 and beyond.
As part of that quest, the ECCF will be hosting two events open to the community to outline the path the organization will take beginning in 2014 as a result of the Gundlach gift. Dates, times and locations for the two events are as follows:
• Nov. 5 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Matterhorn Conference Center, Elkhart
• Nov. 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Rieth Recital Hall, Goshen College, Goshen
Both events will be free and open to the public, however reservations are being requested by RSVPing to the ECCF’s website, elkhartccf.org, or by calling 574-295-8761.
Established in 1989, the ECCF has awarded $44.9 million in grants to Elkhart County not-for-profit organizations since its inception. Historically, it has granted between $500,000 to $600,000 annually.
However, due to the recent growth in ECCF assets, including the gifts from Gundlach and others, ECCF is expected to grant approximately $4.5 million in 2014 and up to $7.5 to $8 million in the following year.
“During this past fiscal year the ECCF received $143.5 million in contributions and $11.2 million in gains realized through our investing activities,” said ECCF President Pete McCown during the organization’s annual meeting and luncheon last week. “Our assets grew from approximately $46 million in 2012 to $197.4 million in 2013. However, the foundation’s mission work is not about asset accumulation. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in Elkhart County by inspiring generosity.”