WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Foundation will be the vehicle to manage $3 million that was transferred to the county from funds left over from the former county-owned hospital.
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that collects public money for various types of projects and programs. The 29-year-old Foundation stewards more than 300 funds that provide resources to charitable causes.
The Wednesday decision by Clinton County commissioners to utilize the Foundation precedes a final draft of a donor agreement between the county and the Foundation, but commissioners expressed comfort with the basic outline of the document as currently drafted.
Clinton County Foundation Executive Director Jan Blohm told commissioners, “This is not just a Christmas gift. This is a huge change in the way that this community will be handling charitable giving.”
After the donor agreement is finalized between the two parties, a policy for awarding grants will still need to be worked out along with other details, said Clinton County Commissioner Mike Curry.
Currently, the county has in hand about $1 million of the total $3 million. The balance will be released to the county as those dollars — previously invested — become available when the investments mature.
Commissioners did not know on Wednesday when those investments will mature and thus when the entire $3 million will be available to be placed with the Foundation.
The commissioners’ legal counsel, Andrew McCoy of the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, said it is that office’s opinion that there are restrictions on what the dollars can be used for.
The former hospital money, he said, is restricted to uses “consistent with what the hospital would use it for, one of those being donation to a nonprofit to promote health, safety and the welfare of citizens of the county.”
Grants are expected to be awarded by a committee whose membership makeup is yet to be determined. Curry said commissioners have discussed the size of the committee and lean toward a five-person body.
Clinton County Commissioner President Patrick Haley said he understands the concept of the Clinton County Foundation, noting he formerly was a member of its board of trustees. He said the crafting of policies for the $3 million fund — currently unnamed — is one of the most important actions the commissioners will undertake and they want to get it right.
Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed said he views the Foundation to “truly be the way we can grow the fund, can distribute a lot of dollars for a number of organizations and nonprofits so we can see the benefits for decades to come from the sale of the hospital.”
Steed said some people have already expressed interest in serving on the committee that will award grants from the funds.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.