Family Hope Foundation
The Family Hope Foundation is focused on helping West Michigan’s special needs individuals and their families. It began with a few parents noticing a real gap regarding therapy needs and has formed into a source of life-changing assistance for many. The parents were seeing great results and accomplishments from their own special needs children going through therapy, and found many other children didn’t even have the opportunity to receive help.
“It broke our hearts to learn about all of the local kids that had to drop out of therapy or cut back on services because their families didn’t have the financial resources, or because they had little or no insurance coverage,” said Jane Eppard, one of the founders. “Every child is different, and it’s all about creating the right fit to help the child succeed, and in many cases, that’s not covered by insurance,” added Stacie Hoey, board member.
The concerned parents began to meet in earnest and set out to fulfill their mission. In 2009, they formed a 16-member, all volunteer board. Their first focus was establishing a therapy scholarship program that would help cover the costs of speech, occupational, physical, sensory, behavioral, and other therapies. In 2010, they awarded thirty $1,000 scholarships. In 2013, 106 scholarships were awarded. Even with the increased number of scholarships, they were only able to fund 42% of the total requests received.
Establishing an endowment fund was a priority for Family Hope Foundation since its inception. In 2011, board members planned to set aside 10% of all gifts received to begin building their endowment fund at the Community Foundation.
“We were determined that we would last forever, to always be here to help meet these needs, and that’s how we were going to get there, by building an endowment fund,” said Eppard. “A board position isn’t permanent, but a gift to an endowment is.”
Later in 2011, Family Hope Foundation was approached by a couple who was passionate about their mission, and made an anonymous gift of $275,000. Using that amount to establish the Family Hope Foundation Founding Fund, an endowed nonprofit fund at CFHZ, was a natural fit for both Family Hope Foundation and the donors. “It was unexpected and we feel so fortunate. They will never truly know the sheer impact of that gift. It’s incredible, and through the Community Foundation’s investment management, the fund has continued to grow,” Eppard said.
The Family Hope Foundation board continues to support their endowment fund each year. Half of all board member contributions are put towards the endowment.
“It’s important to all of us. We’re a newer organization and giving to us in the beginning might have seemed risky.
Our endowment fund demonstrates that we’re committed to the future, and we think our donors value that. It’s about permanence and sustainable stewardship.”
Originally featured in the Community Foundation’s 2013 Annual Report. While this was written by CFHZ’s Communications Manager Nicole Paquette in 2014, we believe that stories of generosity are timeless and always relevant.
Nonprofit Endowment Funds benefit a select nonprofit by providing ongoing support. If the fund is established by a donor, they specify how the endowed funds are to be used, and the Community Foundation provides ongoing stewardship and oversight to ensure the donor’s intentions are fulfilled.
Nonprofit Endowment Funds can also be established by a nonprofit organization to benefit themselves. The Community Foundation handles investment management and administrative responsibilities related to the endowment allowing the organization’s staff and volunteer hours to be concentrated on accomplishing their mission.