Welcome to the second edition of the President’s Report. It’s been a busy six months since the last report of the Beveridge Family Foundation. In the following pages, I hope to share our progress.
To learn more about the Beveridge Family Foundation, please visit www.beveridge.org.
Descendants of Frank Stanley Beveridge should be sure to read the “Bev Bucks” section near the end.
As of April 30, 2017, the investment value of the Foundation was $55,710,723, up 3.6% since the previous report at the end of August 2016. The assets remain prudently invested among common sectors under the guidance of UBS.
The Beveridge Family Foundation seeks to expand the role of impact investing to help fulfill its mission. Different forms of investment solve some problems, but the need for scale, and operational funding point towards Social Impact Bonds (SIB). We hope to remove the barriers to expanding SIB’s. To find out how we’d like to achieve this, please see: https://wcaswell.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/impact-investing/
Long Term Continuity Options
The Beveridge Family Foundation has evolved over the generations and we foresee further evolution as the family broadens and becomes more distant from Frank Stanley Beveridge. It is our duty to ensure the continued implementation of his vision and to do our best to support the community as a family foundation. In May, we conducted a half-day session with Mary Phillips of GMA Foundations to consider our primary goals and objectives.
Over the past six months I have worked closely with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) to craft a document that outlines options and likely paths of progression for our Foundation. In that document, we identified structures which we could use to provide continued support for the region, with varying degrees of involvement and control by family members. To make the document more approachable, I identified trigger points at which time the board may consider it appropriate to migrate from one structure to the next. This document will now be incorporated into the Directors’ Handbook, currently maintained on the Directors’ website. With that in place, we feel more secure in planning for our future.
General Operating Support
Our website www.beveridge.org was one of the first for a foundation and one of the first to accept applications for funding. Information on the site educates non-profits on our process and guidelines, including the types of funding we do and do not provide.
One area of deprecated funding is general operating support. This type of funding is defined as unrestricted to cover the day-to-day operations of an organization. We provide most of the operating support for Stanley Park of Westfield, as our founder intended. For other applicants, it is our policy not to grant general operating support simply because we are not large enough to provide that level of reliable funding for all the other non-profits in our region.
While our rules are clear, the implementation of those rules has room for interpretation. Many non-profits apply for project funding, which we do support, but often, over time, we learn that the projects are not truly new or expanded. We like the organizations and the projects, and because of that, we sometimes allow it. This has created some confusion in the community and we hope to be clearer and more direct. To that end, we will be working now on a new program for operating support that is focused on working more closely, and long term, with a small group of non-profits. A goal will be to help them migrate off the need for this type of funding request. Along with this change will come communications to our community to ensure they can plan accordingly.
The Board met in an extended session in early May to consider taking this difficult step. After vigorous discussion, I am proud that we agreed to move forward in studying this area. Much like our work in impact investing, I feel we can take a leadership role and collaborate well with our peers to effect positive change.
The Board of Directors of The Beveridge Family Foundation is relatively stable. Some Directors have been on the Board since the 1970’s. Over the last ten years, we have had a purposeful generational shift, with many of the grandchildren of Frank Stanley Beveridge being replaced by great-grandchildren, and in one case, a great-great-grandchild.
At the May 6, 2017 Directors’ Meeting, we said thank you and farewell to Al Griggs. Al has been on the board since 1994, serving on various committees and engaging in hundreds of site visits. While we will still see much of Al and his wife Sally around town, we will miss his wisdom, intellectual curiosity, and sense of humor on the Board. Thank you, Al, for your many years of tireless service to this foundation, and to the community where you are so personally generous.
Al’s retirement from the board left a vacancy which was filled by Alexandra Russell. Alexandra also hails from Northampton. We’ll highlight her in more detail another time, but for now, welcome. We’re glad you are here.
In 2016, we welcomed Jabez Palmer to the Board. We thought it would be interesting to highlight a Board member with each President’s Report, so please see the following, provided by ‘Bez’ himself. I’m sure you will agree that he is an intelligent and interesting addition to the Board.
Originally from Providence, R.I (circa 1969), I drove out to Seattle in 1991—in a tiny Honda Prelude at the tender age of 21—and never went back (although I looked back many times). Having sailed around roughly 3/4 of the world with my father in the late ’80’s (aged 16 – 19) on a 41’ sailboat, New England felt much smaller than it ever had before—I felt it was time to explore new horizons, this time on native soil.
Seattle in 1991 was a more provincial scene than it is today, before it exploded as a boomtown for technology, real-estate, culture, and more. Since moving here, I have benefited immensely from the educational and employment opportunities in this robust local economy. In 1993, I enrolled in a 4-year Design program at Cornish College of the Arts, earning a BA in Design in 1996. From there began my career as an illustrator and graphic designer, with far too many twists and turns in the successive 20 years to explain here. Following my last stint of official employment, which ended 2-1/2 years ago, I went back to an independent track by launching, along with a business partner, Moonraker Creative, LLC ( http://www.moonrakercreative.com/ ).
Far more important than any of that, in 1998 I met my future wife, Anne Phyfe (double first name), and we were married in 2000. We have two daughters, Lily and Coco (real name: Charlotte). We have lived in the Madison Valley neighborhood of Seattle, near Lake Washington, for over 17 years now. Whether you seek culture, community, or outdoor adventure, it’s hard to beat the Pacific Northwest. This region has great people, amazing food, plus sea, lakes, and mountains aplenty. Yes, there’s a lot of rain; but compared to New England, it’s cushy living.
Although I have produced logos and marketing materials for several local nonprofits over the years, FSBF is my first philanthropic board membership, and where I hope to make some meaningful contributions in the years ahead.
Thanks, Bez. We enjoy having you on the Board.
The October 26-27, 2017, board meetings will be held in Denver. If you are in Denver then, please let me know now as we would enjoy having you at a gathering the night of October 26th.
Our Foundation continues to be active in the “Reading Success by Fourth Grade Funders’ Collaborative.” Over the past several years this group has met monthly to administer funding to a small but focused group of non-profits with the goal of improving reading scores in Springfield. While we can’t take all the credit, there have been positive results in the scores. In addition, we have learned a great deal as a funding community about the various programs and approaches as well as the tremendous need for accessible quality early childhood education.
Pioneer Valley is now called West Mass. The Economic Development Council of Western Mass, working with other leadership groups, has developed a new branding for the region aimed at a more inclusive, business-friendly name. Like any change, there are a few detractors, but I find I’m getting used to it. I’ve been involved in some of these groups to work on setting the vision for the region. It feels like West Mass is moving forward and the leadership is younger, more energetic, and positive than we’ve seen in many years.
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts Innovation Grants
I had a fun time participating in the CFWM Innovation grants process. Working with Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), a collection of non-profits honed their pitches for funding for new projects. The participants and I provided feedback on their presentations and I enjoyed seeing their progress.
Sandy Hook Promise
Last year we convened a meeting with other area funders, the Springfield Public School (SPS) administration, and Sandy Hook Promise. The meeting was designed to convince SPS to implement Sandy Hook Promise programs aimed at reducing fatal gun violence in our schools. By the end of the meeting, an agreement was made to move forward. I am proud of the work we did here, but humbled by the incredible work done by the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, Lydia Martinez, to complete the implementation of the programs. She overcame strong and subtle political and business opposition to the programs and has now successfully brought Sandy Hook Promise to Springfield Public Schools. She saw the importance of these programs for “her kids” and was fearless, tactful, and creative in making it happen. She is my hero. Please visit www.sandyhookpromise.org for more info.
In 2016 we completed 146 grants totaling $2,177,099, including 75 discretionary grants totaling $350,000. So far in 2017 we have made 32 discretionary distributions for $156,500. These grants are generally $5,000 or less each and are recommended by individual board members. It’s a great program that we use to empower our board members’ individual philanthropy.
Today we are excited to expand our discretionary grants program and launch “Bev Bucks.”
Bev Bucks is a new program for direct descendants of Frank Stanley Beveridge. With this program, we ask that you research and recommend a program at a non-profit and make a pitch for funding. There’s nothing formal about it. Just identify the non-profit that you think is deserving of a grant. In an email or document, tell us why you think we should support it. Helpful things to know would be whom they serve, what problems they solve, and how you might want to become involved with them. Ah yes. You caught that. The hook at the end. While we are not requiring that you get involved, this is our way of encouraging you to do something to help others. We know that once you do, you will see the value of being able to help with your time, and the Foundation’s money, to be the change you seek in this world. Questions? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer any you may have.
Thank you for reading through this update. 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
The Beveridge Family Foundation, Inc.