BY PCC STAFF
FORT MADISON – At its June 6th board of directors meeting, The Community Foundation of North Lee County voted to disaffiliate from The Quad Cities Community Foundation, based in Bettendorf, Iowa and to reaffiliate with The Keokuk Area Community Foundation, based in Keokuk, Iowa. The change will take place immediately.
Since its formation in 2005, the Fort Madison based Foundation has had a mutual agreement with the Quad Cities Foundation to evenly split a 1% annual operating fee levied on all endowment funds in North Lee’s portfolio. That changed in 2016 when the Quad Cities voted to eliminate North Lee’s portion, which was their only source of income. That annual fee is still imposed on all funds, but now benefits the Quad Cities Foundation in its entirety.
In 2016, North Lee was one of thirteen affiliates of the Quad Cities, and by far the largest. Since this change and loss of revenue, the North Lee board has had numerous discussions regarding their affiliation and future. Without a revenue stream, the North Lee Foundation cannot operate.
The Keokuk Area Community Foundation applied for and was awarded national standards status in 2016. They are one of only 17 Community Foundations in the State of Iowa like that, and can accept affiliates, just like the Quad Cities. The Des Moines County Community Foundation based in Burlington, Iowa was affiliated with the Quad Cities and voted to become affiliated with Keokuk in the Fall of 2018.
An affiliation is very typical for a small-town Foundation. It is much easier to get started due to the administration of funds, audits, and a myriad of laws and regulations imposed on larger, “stand alone” Foundations. When the reaffiliation process is finalized, the North Lee funds will be transferred to and managed by Pilot Grove Savings Bank, based in Pilot Grove, Iowa. Pilot Grove has numerous branches throughout Southeast Iowa.
“We will be affiliated with a more local Foundation, have income for expenses, and our funds will be managed by a Southeast Iowa bank, which is much more appealing to potential fund holders. Our group is a local Foundation supporting local charities, not a Quad Cities Foundation.” said Steve Koellner, President of the North Lee Foundation.
“The Keokuk Foundation is looking forward to assisting us through this transfer and we appreciate all the efforts of Pilot Grove Bank. We are looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with Lee County people and a local bank. This is very positive for all parties involved,” added Koellner.
The North Lee Foundation was founded strictly as an avenue for philanthropic citizens to leave a legacy and assist local charities through endowments. Fund holders can establish a permanent fund in their name to benefit a local 501(c)3 that will truly last forever. This group’s assets consist of 87 various funds totaling $16 Million, which have distributed just shy of $4 Million to Southeast Iowa non-profits since 2005.
The biggest advantage of setting up an endowment with The Community Foundation of North Lee County is the 25% Iowa Tax Credit. This credit is only available from an Iowa based community foundation and must benefit an Iowa charity into perpetuity. This tax credit is in addition to Federal charitable tax deductions.
This organization will use the newly established annual income to offset operating costs and to bolster their direct mail marketing campaign. In addition, the group intends to redesign its website and hire an executive director, moves intended to strengthen their image and make them more accessible to existing and potential fund holders.
It is estimated that Lee County alone will have a wealth transfer of $872 Million in the next 10 years. This local Foundation now feels that they are in a better position to secure some of those assets, endow future legacies, enrich lives, and benefit the entire Southeast Iowa region for decades to come.
The North Lee leadership is made up of the following officers: Steve Koellner is President, Jan Woodroffe is the Vice President, and Jane Krebill serves as Secretary. Other board members include: Joe Kowzan, Laurie Breen, Dick Fehseke, Jared Reed, Chad Ward, Tim Gobble, Dianne Hope, Charles Holmes, Josh Denning, and Matt Hayes.