By Sean Belk - Staff Writer
August 14, 2012 - The Long Beach Community Foundation (LBCF) is entering a new chapter of life.
After a 15-plus-year relationship with the California Community Foundation (CCF), LBCF is moving on to a new partnership with Missouri-based Greater Horizons, which provides administrative support to almost two dozen small-to-medium-size community foundations across the country. The new partnership provides LBCF with investment consulting services through Prairie Capital Management, replacing CCF’s investment support from Boston-based Cambridge Association.
Once called the Greater Long Beach Foundation, LBCF was originally established in 1996 as an “affiliate” of CCF, while collaborating with the Estate Planning & Trust Council of Long Beach and local community leaders. In 2006, LBCF incorporated as its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and CCF continued to provide legal and technical guidance, along with fund management services.
LBCF’s assets through individual and corporate funds have since grown to almost $18 million, which has allowed the foundation to provide grants to small nonprofit organizations and financial support to programs throughout the community. The new partnership, however, allows for smaller contributions and gives donors more services and flexibility to customize investments, along with improved investment reporting, said Jim Worsham, president and CEO of LBCF.
On July 1, LBCF reduced its minimum required contribution for starting a fund to $2,500, reduced its standard fee for most funds to 1.25 percent and reduced its related standard minimum annual foundation support fee to $300. In recent years, CCF, on the other hand, has increased its minimum required initial contribution from $10,000 to $25,000, he said.
“We’ve pretty much done everything we can do through the California Community Foundation and now we need to move on to something bigger and better,” Worsham said. “As we continue our growth, we’re restructuring to be able to move ahead even more efficiently than we have in the past . . . This is just a wonderful opportunity to keep a lot more people involved and, in the long-run, it will only benefit Long Beach.” The new partnership also allows donors to take advantage of investment oversight from Prairie Capital Management, which LBCF calls, “a respected investment consultant with an outstanding track record.” LBCF is now able to offer donors the ability to “customize investments to match charitable goals and risk tolerance,” he said.
Donors are able to use an investment recommendation form to select: one of four professionally management investment pools; one of five recommended portfolio allocation options; a mix of pools; or a financial advisor to manage fund investments.
To accommodate these additional accounting and investment management services, LBCF is assessing an annual .15 percent “investment administration fee” to all funds. However, total investment management fees will be lower than before, Worsham added.
Brenda Chumley, executive director of Greater Horizons, which is administered by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, said the new partnership provides LBCF with the necessary services for growth. Greater Horizons currently oversees about $1.2 billion in invested assets.
“Our experience with managing the back office operations and investments at almost two dozen community foundations around the country is just what the Long Beach Community Foundation needs at this time,” she said. “It will really allow them to leverage our expertise to maximize their growth . . . We offer flexible and robust investment arrangements for donors.”
Meanwhile, LBCF is also welcoming two new staff members. Julie Heggeness is now vice president and Colleen Bragalone is director of administration.
Heggeness, a life-long Long Beach resident and a recipient of the 2009 Long Beach Business Journal Women of the Year Award, is responsible for growing LBCF through revitalized community partnerships and obtaining new assets. With a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a jurist doctor, she became a certified specialist in planned giving from the American Institute of Philanthropic Studies, and is a past member of the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency Board.
Bragalone, who currently serves as the executive director of the Long Beach Rotary Scholarship Foundation, will take over all administrative duties for LBCF. She earned a degree in journalism, with emphasis in public relations, and has a broad background in communications, with experience working for high-tech public relations firms and nonprofit organizations.
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