Family of Funds helps sustain Guernsey County’s future

Guernsey’s new funds are part of FAO’s family of funds and priority goal to encourage the growth of existing and new charitable resources for the region. In Guernsey County, community leaders and trustees of the Cambridge Foundation partnered with FAO to create the Guernsey County Foundation, an FAO component fund designated for the benefit of Guernsey County.

With this partnership, the community can collaborate with FAO and the fund’s advisory committee to attract charitable gifts, determine priorities and make grants to benefit the area. FAO manages and stewards the fund endowment, acknowledges gifts and supports the community’s efforts to attract new charitable endowment and contributions. The small administrative contribution received by FAO is reinvested in grant programs to benefit Guernsey nonprofits. The contribution also provides tools and resources to help build the culture of giving in Guernsey County and the region.

A prime example of the essential support these funds provide for Guernsey is the Guernsey County Senior Citizen Center. 2007 marks the center’s 35th year of offering an assortment of services and recreational activities to senior citizens aged 60 and older throughout the county. The center can now continue to offer these services for years to come, thanks to an endowment fund with FAO. The fund helps to secure the future of the organization and encourage the growth of the center and its programs. It also allows for donations to be contributed to the agency.

"By creating the fund with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, we have helped to diminish concern of where our money is going and focus more on the commitment of providing services to senior citizens," said Shon Gress, executive director of the Guernsey County Senior Citizen Center.

The senior citizen fund is one of more than a dozen component funds of FAO that exist for the benefit of Guernsey County, which also are supported by grants from the Guernsey County Foundation. The purpose of FAO’s Family of Funds for Guernsey County is to benefit the economic, cultural and educational climate of the greater Guernsey area by being both a recipient vehicle of financial gifts and a distributor of grants to area organizations that meet gift guidelines. All of the FAO funds for Guernsey County have independent advisory boards.

The Kevin Ritz Family Foundation, started by former Colorado Rockies pitcher and Guernsey County native Kevin Ritz, also holds a donor-advised fund with FAO. The fund supports a number of athletic activities in Guernsey County, including the Little League Challenger Division, a national youth baseball program started in 1998 for mentally and physically disabled players.

"The FAO has been a tremendous help with our donor-advised fund. My wife Sally and I wanted to start a fund that over the years could continue to provide funds for charities that are important to us," Ritz said. "Leslie and her staff were there to help us through the process and have been just great to work with. It was really important for us when we decided to start The Kevin Ritz Family Foundation that we do it the right way. We have come to rely on the FAO expertise."

The advisory board of the Guernsey County Foundation is excited about the opportunities for community improvement made possible by the FAO component funds, said Maribeth Wright, president of the Guernsey County Foundation board and a trustee on the FAO board.

"The guidance we have received from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio has been invaluable," Wright said. "We could not be where we are today without the help of FAO."