Early in November Robin Niewold and Carl Hudson had lunch with a donor interested in The PBL Endowment Fund. Niewold had been contacted in October by the donor’s financial representative asking for information about the endowment fund. Fast forward to the lunch meeting which ended with the donor handing Niewold and Hudson a personal check for $250,000.
Hudson and Niewold have served on The PBL Education Board since it was created in 1997 and today they are co-chairmen of The Pillar fundraising campaign. The gift comes just as the co-chairs were preparing to launch The Pillar campaign to “jumpstart” the endowment fund.
The Pillar Campaign goal had been set at $250,000 which is the minimum amount needed in The Endowment Fund before income (from the invested funds) may be distributed to The District.
Hudson said, “This gift is a game-changer! This single gift gives potential Pillar Campaign donors the confidence to know their gifts will not be at risk of sitting until the minimum is reached. Now, every single gift added to this (minimum) will have both immediate and lifelong impact for our students.”
Niewold shared that the creation of an endowment fund has been a 20-year goal of The Foundation referencing meeting notes of Brenda Pacey who served as Founding Board Chairman (1997-98). The strategic plan at that time included the establishment of an endowment fund.
“We never gave up on that goal but we just couldn’t get over the proverbial hump until 2017 with a donation from Frank Drendel. When Drendel, among the first class of inductees into The PBL Hall of Fame, was in town for the induction ceremony and homecoming events, he announced a $10,000 donation to the Foundation followed by a 2nd promise of an additional $10,000 dependent upon matching funds.”As Carl tells the story, ‘he looked at me and said he would pledge another $10,000 if matching funds were raised.’
Matching funds were raised within months and Frank donated another $10,000. Then the Foundation was notified Nick Fiorillo’s estate had bequeathed them a $10,000 gift. Niewold said, “with these gifts, we were officially over the hump and those are the funds we used to create The PBL Endowment Fund.”
Niewold said, “It has been exciting to share the news of this $250,000 gift with previous board members, especially those on the 1997 founding board. To say their reaction to this news was pure joy would be a huge understatement. Cliff McClure, District Superintendent said he was “both ecstatic and humbled that someone would believe so much in our Foundation and PBL Schools that they would make this generous forever-gift to generations of future students and staff.”
The Foundation’s board of directors chose to invest The PBL Endowment Funds with The Frederick Community Bank’s wealth management division. The Board’s Finance Committee oversees The Fund and was happy that a local option for investing the monies was available to The Foundation.
In addition, Theresa Rueck, Finance Committee Chair said, “having Justin Swan and Ahlden Harms, lifelong community members and PBL grads with commitment to The Foundation, is an added bonus because they are both committed to seeing our communities and our schools succeed”.
The Donor has asked The Foundation to maintain their anonymity but Niewold said, “during lunch, stories about community and school ties were shared …the donor felt The PBL Endowment Fund provided them with the opportunity they were looking for to leave a family legacy in our communities ….all-in-all, it was a good fit.”
Pillar Campaign gifts of $25,000 (minimum) made in one payment or pledges of $5,000 per year over 5 years will be commemorated on a cast plaque fixed to a boulder to be located at the site of the new (Clara Peterson K-5) school building currently under construction. The boulder and plaque will become one of three such historical markers in our community. Donors making a one-time gift of at least $25,000 will have an opportunity to place up to 5 pages of (individual) donor history in a time capsule to be buried under the boulder, with an opening date set for 50 years in the future.