On the cusp of its 50th anniversary, the Fresno Regional Foundation has changed its name to the Central Valley Community Foundation to reflect the Valley-wide scope of both its donor base and the nonprofit organizations it supports.
The foundation’s board approved the change after reviewing options for the moniker for several years, said board chairwoman Carole Andersen, a board member since 2011. “We felt this was the opportune time to move forward with the name change as part of the ambitious agenda we laid out a year ago” when new CEO Hugh Ralston was hired.
“The board believes changing the name represents our commitment to work with donors and nonprofits throughout the Central Valley,” Andersen added.
The board believes changing the name represents our commitment to work with donors and nonprofits throughout the Central Valley as we focus on key issues that impact the Valley’s communities regardless of county boundaries.
Carole Andersen, Central Valley Community Foundation board chairwoman
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The foundation, established in 1966, functions as a tax-deductible clearinghouse for charitable contributions, grants and bequests from philanthropists, and serves Fresno, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties.
The organization, a registered nonprofit foundation, serves as a steward of those funds, managing and investing the money to build up the endowments and awarding grants.
In 2014, the foundation was administering 199 donor fund accounts with net assets of about $64 million and awarded about $9.3 million in grants to nonprofits working on such issues as arts and culture, human services, teen pregnancy prevention, youth services and the environment.
“Donors want to know their donations are being used smartly and effectively,” Ralston said.
The name change roughly coincides with the foundation’s move to new offices within the Fig Garden Financial Center office complex in northwest Fresno. Before July, foundation staffers were crammed into about 2,800 square feet.
“We didn’t have enough space for the staff we had, never mind the staff we want to hire,” Ralston said. “Every office had two people in it, and one office had three people.”
The new 7,500-square-foot location in an adjacent building will allow for larger offices “and for the staffing plan that the board has approved,” Ralson said. “It’s an investment in our ability to expand our mission.”
According to the foundation’s financial statement for 2014, the base rent on the larger space is about $11,240 per month plus maintenance and other costs, and could go up halfway through the 10-year lease.
One component of that expanded mission is a new 2,500-square-foot Center for Community within the new location. The center is described as a place where local charitable organizations can hold meetings at no cost, and where the foundation will also offer professional workshops and training sessions on nonprofit leadership.
“We are moving forward with great intention to engage donors, nonprofits and other partners throughout our region,” Andersen said, “and are building a platform that can strengthen this remarkable Valley and the 2 million people we serve.”
The importance of building and maintaining a stable platform of endowments is illustrated by inconsistency in annual donations and income for the foundation since 2002. Net assets and fund balances managed by the foundation grew from less than $9.3 million in 2002 to more than $50 million in 2012, and to almost $64 million last year. But year-to-year income through grants and contributions swung wildly during the same span, wobbling from less than $4 million in 2003 to more than $23 million in 2007.
The foundation’s annual income also took a substantial hit in 2008, when investment losses amounted to more than $6.6 million, but rebounded in subsequent years.
Giving and receiving
A summary of donations, grants made and year-end fund balances for the Central Valley Community Foundation, formerly the Fresno Regional Foundation.
Net assets/fund balances
Sources: 2014 - Fresno Regional Foundation Consolidated Financial Statement; 2002-2013 - U.S. Internal Revenue Service Form 990.