Groundwork is being laid for new Vermillion Community Foundation

Groundwork is being laid for new Vermillion Community Foundation by David Lias An effort spearheaded by Young Moore III and other concerned citizens in Vermillion will hopefully lead to the establishment of a new Vermillion Community Foundation.

The purpose of the foundation will be to do what local government often can't do because of a shortage of funds � provide a source of dollars for civic projects that will improve the well being of the community.

As Moore explained in a Sept. 9 meeting at the Vermillion Public Library to publicly discuss the idea, projects suitable for funding can be in the area of arts and cultural affairs but are not limited exclusively to these areas.

Moore said it became apparent to him that a community foundation is needed in Vermillion after he served as chairman of the Finance Task Force of the Vermillion Can Do! project.

"In studying how we find the money to support arts and culture, one suggestion that was made was to set up a community foundation, and that teased my imagination," Moore said.

Moore, in a report he distributed to those attending the meeting, noted that the South Dakota Community Foundation has indicated that it will provide a challenge grant to assist Vermillion in establishing a community foundation.

The funds would be lodged with and administered by the state foundation, he noted. The foundation's policy is to pay out of earned income 5 percent of the value of the fund each year.

The South Dakota Community Foundation would retain slightly more than 1 percent of the funds received for administration.

All earnings over these amounts will be retained and added into the principal of the fund to provide increased earnings in future years.

"If we establish such a fund, they will provide up to $25,000 to us as a match on a four of our dollars for one of theirs basis," Moore said.

Bernie Christenson, executive director of the South Dakota Community Foundation, addressed the meeting, and shared background about the organization and its policies.

Communities benefit from the South Dakota Foundation from funding that comes not from taxes, but from donations from individuals and estates.

"That's where we come in, is trying to help people set up plans and think of their favorite charities or projects when they do," Christenson said.

Vermillion hopes to kick off its community foundation by gathering $105,000, which would then be administered and invested by the South Dakota Community Foundation.

Suggested fund-raising goals for starting the local foundation are: $20,000 each from the Gateway Foundation and the Polaris Foundation; $5,000 each from Civic Council, Vermillion city government and Clay County government; $4,000 each from five Vermillion banks, and at least $1,000 each from 30 individuals.

The Vermillion Community Foundation income will be forwarded to the Vermillion finance officer and will be distributed as suggested by a local board of directors.

By the end of the Saturday meeting, Moore had already recruited several citizens to serve on the board.

It is hoped that citizens representing a cross-section of Vermillion, from local government, clergy and educators, to industry, financial and health care professionals, will serve three year terms on the board beginning next year.

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