Welcome to the first President’s Report of the Beveridge Family Foundation. This report is designed to inform friends of the Foundation of highlights from the past six months.
As of August 31, 2016, the investment value of the Foundation was $53,778,327, up 1.8% for the year. The assets remain prudently invested among common sectors under the guidance of UBS. As a Foundation, we contribute 5% of our assets each year to approved charities.
Governance is overseen by a board of thirteen directors, consisting of ten family and three non-family members. Day-to-day operations are managed by the President, with assistance from GMA (bookkeeping), Edelstein, (auditors), Kenneth Wenzel (retained counsel), and Tim Turner (web programmer).
To date in 2016, we have awarded 60 discretionary grants totaling $267,000, 29 general grants worth $502,000, and provided monthly support amounting to $530,000 to The Stanley Park of Westfield, Inc.
In addition to our usual grant-making activities, a major focus the last six months has been to review and update our long-term goals and succession plans. As a family foundation, we are involving all descendants of Frank Stanley Beveridge in the review and update process. Of sixty-two known living offspring, fifty have reached the age for board consideration. All descendants were asked to participate in surveys conducted confidentially by GMA to gauge interest in, and understanding of, the Foundation. Thirty-one family members completed the surveys.
The results of this survey will be used to moderate discussions prior to our October board meeting to devise long-term goals for the future.
Over the past five months, we promoted our mission in Western Massachusetts in a number of ways. A few highlights include:
- On May 5th, the certificate of occupancy was delivered for the Beveridge Pavilion at Stanley Park. Working closely with Bob McKean, we completed a high-quality facility, on time, and under budget.
- We convened leading Pioneer Valley funders along with the Springfield Public School administration to a meeting with Sandy Hook Promise. Further meetings with the Mayor’s Violence Prevention Task force ensured broader buy in within the community. Through persistent efforts, they are now working together to run school programs to combat in-school violence.
- On June 1, 2011 a massive tornado hit Springfield and continued through western MA in a 39-mile-long path of death and destruction. One of the buildings destroyed housed the South End Community Center (SECC). The SECC had a long history of support from our Foundation, serving thousands of kids every day with after-school and summer programming. Money was quickly obtained to rebuild, but the rebuilding process was hampered by delays. After five years, the remaining leadership of SECC was challenged by trying to run programs from dispersed locations. As a Foundation, we are forbidden from lobbying. We can, however, ask important questions when we see an area of need. Our tenacity in connecting the right people with each other contributed to the removal of obstacles. Ground was finally broken on the new South End Community Center in September 2016.
- Our discretionary grants are designed to be timely and effective. For example, we made a discretionary distribution to Tapestry Health systems in Holyoke to keep their needle exchange program going during a glitch in state funding. Without our speedy assistance, they would have had to shut down, further endangering an already high-risk population.
- As President, I participated in a panel discussion to the Women in Philanthropy resulting in an increase in understanding of our Foundation’s mission by local non-profits, and an increase in the number of applications.
- I also played a leading role in the “The Reading Success By Fourth Grade Funders Collaborative.” This year the collaborative is issuing another round of grants, which will include funding we suggested to buy a consistent, high-quality curriculum for Springfield preschool programs.
- We redesigned the Directors Application Review web module. We consistently review other foundation websites to ensure that ours is one of the easiest to use.
- We connect various organizations with the Springfield Public Schools data warehouse to increase the fidelity of program outcome testing. This promotes more consistent results to use as comparisons across different programs. This effort began as a seed grant to Partners for Healthier Communities.
- We work with Stanley Park to continue the growth of their fundraising. They have a schedule of applications for funding from all local major funders. Work on grassroots funding has expanded the base of donors and increased the amounts given to Stanley Park each year.
- We’ve explored opportunities for program-related investments. These tend to be higher risk than traditional investments, but serve our mission and may be counted as grants in the year funded, with potential for a future return. After a thorough vetting process, we made our first program-related investment in the Wellspring Investment Fund. The funding will help establish a hydroponic greenhouse in Indian Orchard, create jobs, and increase the supply of high-quality locally-grown produce. Our early leadership helped Wellspring obtain additional funding from others.
- We contacted prior grantees to backfill reports on prior applications to obtain better follow up information. This allows us to better understand the impact or our work.
- In our Fall cycle, we received a record-high 63 applications. Some applicants were awarded discretionary grants of up to $5,000. The remainder of the applications will be voted on at the October 19th board meeting, following deliberation by our board including site visits.
On a personal note, following a discretionary grant for educational programs, I had the pleasure of volunteering to teach two one-week morning sessions on boatbuilding at Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, MA. Lowell’s is the longest continually operating boat shop in North America, turning out dories since 1793. During those weeks I taught middle school kids how to work with wood to build and sail functional model sailboats. The regatta at the end of each week was a highlight of the summer.
We are looking forward to a productive series of meetings this October and to perpetuating the vision of Frank Stanley Beveridge.
As always, we hope to hear from you and recommend the content on www.beveridge.org for more information about the history and mission of the Beveridge Family Foundation.
Ward S. Caswell