Published: Dec 04, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Dec 04, 2012 06:54 PM
HILLSBOROUGH - Orange County hopes to fan the spirit of community giving for years to come.
The Board of Commissioners gave its blessing Nov. 24 to a new Community Giving Fund operated in partnership with the Triangle Community Foundation.
The fund will let you donate money, stocks and property next year to county departments and specific programs, above what the county already provides, officials said. County Manager Frank Clifton said the fund could be ready by February or March.
Working with a reputable community group will assure donors that their money is being put to good use, officials said.
“It is not hard for me to imagine that we could double or triple the number of monetary donations in a year,” Animal Services Director Bob Marotto said.
Animal Services has relied on donors for years, and a survey this year found that eight county departments receive annual donations totaling more than $100,000.
“It’s important for us, and we thought it would be important to those giving to us, to know that this was something that would be a benefit to Orange County,” Marotto said.
Clifton said the program will make it easier for people to designate donations in their wills and trusts. When he worked in Mt. Dora, Fla., they built recreation facilities, a library and supported other local programs with a giving fund, he said.
“A lot of people, when they get near the end, they try to focus on where they want their money to go,” Clifton said.
The county will invest $10,000 to establish the fund, and a five-person county team will channel the money to the designated department or project. The Triangle Community Foundation will invest and manage the donations for an annual administrative fee of roughly 1 percent of the fund balance, or a minimum of $300. The county also will pay any investment fees.
If county officials decide to close the fund, they must notify the foundation in writing.
Clifton said a county-operated program would have had more challenges, including how to include one-time donations in the budget and how to sell cars, stocks and other donated property.
Triangle Community Foundation has real estate planning contacts and can do property appraisal and sales through its real estate foundation, he said.
A promotional campaign early next year will put the county’s stamp on the program, Public Affairs Director Carla Banks said. Staff also plans to acknowledge every donation, no matter the size, officials said.
“We do work really hard to build a bridge with the community, to collaborate with the community,” Marotto said.