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Waldeck Fund Celebrates 5 Years of an Extraordinary Charitable Legacy

In early 2010, our Community Foundation received a special legacy gift from the Waldeck Family - an LLC with gold and other mineral royalty interests. Ellen Jo Waldeck's legacy is to support one annual full-ride nursing scholarship to Colorado Mesa University and provide ongoing funding support to eight Mesa County organizations. These organizations are: Grand Valley Catholic Outreach, Habitat for Humanity, Hilltop's Latimer House, HomewardBound, HopeWest, Marillac Clinic, Mesa County Partners, and Roice-Hurst Humane Society. A portion of the monthly royalty income is distributed immediately to the designated organizations and the remaining income is building up a permanent endowment to fund these same eight organizations. At the end of 2014, the Waldeck Endowment Fund had a balance of $5.5 million. Over the past five years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been distributed to these organizations feeding the hungry, providing shelter, providing end-of-life support and grief counseling, helping at-risk youth and supporting abandoned pets. The Waldeck funding began at a critical time for many of the organizations who were facing cutbacks in government funding and shrinking private donations due to the recession. It stabilized operations for many of these groups. An independent evaluation concluded that this funding allowed most of the supported organizations to expand their services greatly over the five-year period. For example, thanks to the Waldeck funding, HomewardBound has watched the number of deaths related to outdoor winter exposure shrink from 23 cases in 2010 to none over the past four years. They have been planning and are now breaking ground on a new family housing facility for women with children. Roice-Hurst Humane Society reports they would not be here today without the Waldeck support five years ago. They are now housed in a renovated shelter and have doubled the number of pets they shelter and foster.

"At least 150 youth would not have been served over the past five years in our mentoring and Conservation Corps training programs if the Waldeck funding had not been available."

-- Joe Higgins, Executive Director, Mesa County Partners

Reflections from the Executive Director

It was 2010 - five years ago last month - when Ellen Jo Waldeck passed away and left an extraordinary charitable legacy gift to our Community Foundation. The Waldeck family's gift has had a huge impact on numerous organizations and the clients (and pets) they serve, as well as the entire community. Their gift has also had a transforming power in terms of organizational development for our Foundation. Our "little community foundation" isn't so little any more, we are growing bigger and growing up in terms of capacity and sophistication every year.

While the Waldeck legacy is extra special because of the value and complexity of the assets that were donated, I want to remind our friends and readers that it is one of over 250 different funds our Community Foundation manages. The beauty of an organization like ours is that lots and lots of people can leave assets and direct what kind of impact they want to have on our community. A community foundation is a shared institution, with huge potential to grow and award more grants and scholarships every year.

-- Anne Wenzel

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