Our Exchange Student from France, Alex Rialet, was not with us last Friday – he had attended the Safe and Sober Graduation Celebration until 4:00 that morning, so he was sleeping in. We hope to hear from him at our next meeting. We did have his parents with us – Isabelle Gaboriau and Fabrice Rialet. They were here to watch Alex graduate from Arcata High School. Alex is our first Exchange Student to earn a full diploma from AHS – congratulations!
- Keep your attendance up. If you weren’t there last week, please be sure to come this Friday and next. (It may be habit-forming!)
- Reach out to a friend or co-worker and ask them to consider making Rotary a part of their life.
- Make a personal donation to the Rotary Foundation. “Every Rotarian, Every Year” means that each of us makes a contribution – even a small one – each year, to support the Foundation’s mission, which is to “enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty”. If you click anywhere on this part of Jessica’s challenge, you will be taken to the Foundation’s Donations Page. Click now – we’ll wait.
About the Humboldt Area Foundation
Patrick Cleary was our Featured Speaker last Friday. Following careers in banking and broadcasting, Patrick was named as the Executive Director of the Humboldt Area Foundation in 2012, and he recently joined the Rotary Club of Eureka. Patrick was with us to talk about the history of that organization and about its programs.
Patrick said that most of us have some knowledge of the Humboldt Area Foundation, but it has so many funds and programs, that “it’s relatively complicated to explain”. So he started at the beginning. Vera Vietor and her husband Lynn owned Eureka Boiler Works, and the couple built a home near Indianola in the 1940s. They lived there until Lynn died in April 1972, with Vera passing away only 10 weeks later. After Lynn died, Vera changed her will. Since the couple had no children, she left some money to her living relatives, but she stipulated that the bulk of her estate – her beautiful house and $2.5 million – be used to fund a community foundation.
Patrick explained what a community foundation does. “To over-simplify it,” he said, “basically, we take a sum of money, we invest it, and we pay out the earnings to good causes.” He said that he likes to view HAF using a “tree model”. He likened it to planting an apple tree and helping it grow, while harvesting the fruit periodically.
The Vera P. Vietor Trust was the first trust managed by HAF, but it was soon joined by others, including the Hans Olsen Trust. Hans was an Arcata laborer who was well-respected in the community. Hans left $125,000 to the Foundation, a sum that has grown to over $500,000, and its proceeds are dedicated to programs that benefit young people in our community.
Patrick told us about the many types of funds that HAF administers according to the wishes of the donors. He said that designated funds benefit a specific organization or a specific purpose. He said that HAF administers the Vernon and Grace Brightman Memorial Fund, which supports the music program in the Bridgeville School District, and the William Foley DeBoice Memorial Fund, which provides resources for the visually challenged.
Donor advised funds are housed at HAF, but the distribution of funds is directed by an outside organization. Patrick used the example of the Cooperative Community Fund, which is controlled by the members of the North Coast Coop.
“Every so often,” Patrick said, “people just leave us money,” asking the Foundation to use the money in a way that benefits the community. The William F. and Ruby Kennedy Fund is an example of such a fund, which is known as a flexible fund. Another example is the Orvamae Emmerson Endowment Fund.
Other funds mentioned include the Victor Thomas Jacoby Fund, which is committed to supporting arts and culture; the Marie Raleigh Memorial Fund, dedicated to companion animals; the Tracy Memorial Trust Fund, an education fund that supports the study of local history in a variety of fields, and the Humboldt Bay Recreation Enhancement & Water Quality Fund, which provides money to improve access to recreation and research, and to improve water quality. Many scholarship funds are housed and administered by HAF, and several nonprofit organizations use the Foundation’s investment clout and expertise to leverage their capital.
Over time, Patrick said, the Humboldt Area Foundation has “created a little bit of an orchard.” The beauty of the foundation concept is that an individual does not need to have millions of dollars to make an impact – smaller donations can be put with one another to help a great many people.
The Humboldt Area Foundation’s sphere of influence extends beyond the county lines. They used to cover Mendocino County, but in 1993, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County was formed to serve that area. However HAF still administers the Trinity Trust, the Mountain Valley Youth Fund, and the Gates Family Endowment Fund in Trinity County, and it administers the Del Norte Area Fund, the Rumiano Family Fund, and the Wild Rivers Community Foundation for Del Norte County and Oregon’s Curry County
Other programs that HAF runs include the Cascadia Center for Leadership and the Northern California Association for Nonprofits (NorCAN). Its headquarters makes its meeting rooms available for public use, and the Rooney Resource Center is available for nonprofit managers to research available grants. They also provide help to those who are exploring planned giving options.
In response to a question, Patrick said that bequests continue to come in, despite the recent economic downturn. In fact these donations are on the rise. For more information, visit the Humboldt Area Foundation website.