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New Janesville Community Fund established

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Shelly Birkelo
January 16, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin has established a new charitable endowment fund that will serve as a financial resource to nonprofit organizations in Janesville.

The Janesville Community Fund will work like a venture capital fund for nonprofits, said Bryan Steil, chairman of the new fund's founding advisory board that includes 14 current or former Janesville area residents.

“It is specific to Janesville and for the purpose of things that will benefit Janesville,” Steil said.

Jim Cripe, retired attorney and former chairman of the Community Foundation board, advises the group.

Donations will be invested by the Community Foundation for long-term growth, and a portion of the earnings will be used to make grants. The remaining earnings will be reinvested to grow the endowment.

The size of grants has not yet been set, Steil said.

As the fund's $75,000 in initial donations grows, so will grants to the community, he said.

“As funds grow, the donations will become more significant and will have a greater impact in the community,” Steil said.

Supporters of the new fund contributed $50,000, and the Janesville Foundation donated $25,000. Fundraising continues under the direction of the advisory board that will set a fundraising goal in the coming months, Steil said.

“We started with donations through word of mouth. There is no (official) fundraising campaign at this time,” he said.

Gifts to the Janesville Community Fund may be made in any amount and pledges may be made over three years.

In addition to the new fund, the Janesville Community Fund advisory board will oversee donations from five existing private charitable funds of more than $600,000 held by the Community Foundation that serve Janesville.

“The group overseeing distributing those funds has not been specifically from Janesville. So setting up this advisory board that oversees the new fund will allow the board (members) to use their skills to oversee the distribution of grants from these other existing funds,” Steil said.



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