In January 1999, an anonymous gift of $50,000 was made to the Decatur County Community Foundation for the benefit of South Park Cemetery. The donor used the Foundation to create an endowment—a permanent source of income—known as the South Park Cemetery Preservation Fund.
At the time of the original gift, a match challenge was available through the Lilly Endowment. Through wise investing the gift has returned more than $50,000 in distributions in just the last 15 years. That return is a testament why donors choose to endow their money at the Foundation.
Instead of giving the funds in one lump sum to the cause, an endowment ensures a permanent source of future income for a non-profit.
When the anonymous donor started the fund, guidelines for the future use of the money were also established. The donor intended the money to help with such things as the Memorial and Veterans Day services, preservation and protection of historical stones and monuments, genealogical record keeping, and even preservation of historical plantings.
“The South Park Cemetery is a not-for-profit entity which receives no public funds to operate. It operates on moneys generated through donations and operating income,” said David Miers, South Park Cemetery President. “The distribution of funds from the South Park Cemetery Fund at the Decatur County Community Foundation is used to support the annual Memorial Day Service at the cemetery. With these funds South Park is able to add amenities that make this a comfortable and more memorable day for those attending.”
“South Park Cemetery has such special meaning for many people in this community,” said Tami Wenning, Executive Director of the Decatur County Community Foundation. “It obviously had a particularly special meaning to the anonymous donor who established the South Park Cemetery Preservation Fund more than 20 years ago. It’s wonderful to see the continued care and attention that is given to the cemetery, thanks to the donor’s wishes.”
The South Park Cemetery Preservation Fund is just one of more than 80 funds held by the Community Foundation. Some funds are intended to benefit specific causes or areas of interest like the South Park Cemetery Preservation Fund; other funds are donor advised each year; still other funds are to meet the needs of the community at-large. To learn more about the Community Foundation and its funds, or how to establish your own fund so you can support your favorite charities forever, visit dccfound.org, or contact the Foundation office at 812-662-6364.