WILMINGTON — County commissioners on Wednesday kept drafting a donor agreement that ultimately will transfer $3 million of former hospital funds to the Clinton County Foundation organization.
Details as well as over-arching guiding principles are being established as commissioners work to fine-tune the official documents that will provide the framework for what they hope is a charitable endowment that lasts for decades.
Clinton County commissioners Kerry R. Steed and Mike Curry made it clear they don’t want any grant awards to be drawn from the initial $3 million. Rather, they want distributions from the as-yet-unnamed fund to be made from the interest money generated by Clinton County Foundation investments.
Clinton County Commissioner Patrick Haley, who has said the crafting of policies for the fund is one of the most important actions the commissioners will undertake, said Wednesday there are some things he wants to think about more.
While the Foundation will be the investment arm of the endowment fund, the grants will be awarded by a separate committee. Commissioners plan for that committee to have five members, to be selected by the Board of Clinton County Commissioners.
As of now, committee members may or may not include elected officials.
Commissioners agree the committee should not include someone who represents the Foundation.
“I’m not in favor of that, because I guess the first question is, ‘For what reason would they want to serve other than having influence?’ Because my understanding is they’re [Clinton County Foundation] administrative in nature, and I think it [committee] should be made up of citizens,” Haley said.
Curry concurred, noting the Foundation will charge a fee for its services and as a result, if a member of the grant-awarding committee were to represent the Foundation, that would be “a conflict of interest,” he said.
Steed said he agreed with the other two commissioners on the question. But he said that someone who’s with the Foundation should not be excluded from serving on the committee — and neither should Foundation membership on the committee be mandated.
Haley and Curry were OK with that as long as the person would sit on the committee as an individual, and not expressly as a representative of the Foundation.
After the commissioners’ discussion, Andrew McCoy, who serves as commissioners’ legal counsel, said, “The Clinton County Foundation is sort of making some suggestions, but they’ve been very open and cooperative in terms of making sure that it’s an agreement that works for the [county] commissioners and the Foundation. They’re pretty open-minded about what this could look like.”
Under the planned arrangement, the Clinton County Foundation will be the vehicle to manage the money remaining from the former county-owned hospital’s business operations, about $3 million. The commissioners have indicated they want to transfer those particular funds to the not-for-profit Clinton County Foundation to start an endowment.
A legally permissible use of the dollars is to promote health, safety and welfare of Clinton County citizens.
The 29-year-old Foundation stewards more than 300 funds that provide resources to charitable causes.
In addition to this $3 million, there will be millions more to come to the county from the actual sale of the CMH Regional Health System’s facilities, real estate and equipment. These funds from the sale of CMH property will not be transferred to the Foundation.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.
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