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“BANG for the BUCK - Buck to the Future!”
idea of investing money for a hundred years still sparks
the philanthropic imagination today. Although Benjamin Franklin
wasn’t the inspiration for The Tricentennial Fund
of Nashville, Tennessee, the idea that spawned the fund
echoes Franklin’s thinking.
“I’m embarrassed to say I
wasn’t aware of Franklin’s will when we established
The Tricentennial Fund,” said Ellen Lehman, executive
director of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
(CFMT). The CFMT houses dozens of special interest funds,
each earmarked for specific nonprofits or fields of interest.
The Tricentennial Fund differs from all other funds in one
respect: the principal will remain untouched for a hundred
years. Begun in 1996 as Tennessee celebrated the 200th anniversary
of its founding, the Tricentennial Fund will continue to
appreciate until 2096.
The solicitation campaign helped contributors
get an idea of how a small contribution today becomes a
major gift in a hundred years. For example, a gift of $22
today might be expected to be worth $303,173.47 in a hundred
years. To make a $30 million contribution to the future,
a donor needed to contribute only $2222.22 (all those twos
honored the bicentennial!). Even with conservative rates
of return, hundreds of millions of dollars will be allocated
by and for future generations.
Lehman says The Tricentennial Fund is
just a long-term version of what the Community Foundation
does. “It’s the community’s savings account,
where people put money aside to meet the needs of the community.
Take a look at your community, and see if you can imagine
what the needs will be a hundred years from now,”
Lehman says. “There is one thing you can say for sure:
that the people who live in the community are going to be
best equipped to say what that community needs.”
Community foundations offer a variety
of options for donors to help meet community needs today
and as far into the future as you can imagine. Visit:
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