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YCF celebrates 10 years of community support

Your Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia hosted an event in honor of its 10-year anniversary Thursday at the foundation’s office at 111 High St.

Founded in 2011, YCF is the larger, more effective outcome of a merger between two nonprofit foundations, the Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia and the Greater Morgantown Community Trust.

The foundation serves the five-county region of Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties. YCF encourages, creates, markets and manages endowment funds originated by individuals, families, businesses and organizations throughout the area.

YCF President Patty Showers Ryan said endowment funds are created by those who wish to have a permanent fund to support their community in specific areas.

YCF does not use the principle of donated funds as a gift, but invests the principle and uses the annual earnings to support the charitable purposes the donor wishes to support.

The net earnings from those investments are then distributed to deserving recipients by YCF in the form of grants and scholarships, in accordance with the restrictions specified by donors through a fund agreement with YCF.

Showers said the organization manages roughly 150 funds on behalf of donors.

She said over the last 10 years, YCF has been able to award grants and scholarships totaling $9.5 million.

The 10-year anniversary allows YCF to focus on two important goals, Showers said.

One is to inform the public of what YCF is and to educate about YCF’s mission and how it can benefit the community.

The other goal is for YCF to continue to grow and have a positive impact on the community while adapting to the ever-changing needs of the public.

Adaptability is a facet of the organization that has already undergone expansion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Showers said.

“We … took on a role of providing emergency funds, which was something that we had not done before. But we were receiving questions from potential donors that wanted to give back, so we created an emergency fund, which allowed businesses and individuals in the community to donate to support COVID-related needs,” she said.

She said she believes YCF will be able to continue to use that emergency fund to further support and serve north-central West Virginia.

“I think it’s really important that we acknowledge the donors that provided these funds to make these grants and scholarships possible to support north-central West Virginia,” Showers said.

She also wanted to thank the hundreds of volunteers who have helped YCF over the past decade.

“Without their support, we could not fulfill our mission,” Showers said.

Another YCF executive, Board Chairman Martin Howe, expressed honor and gratitude for his involvement with the organization.

“I am definitely honored to be able to be on the board for YCF, as well as to be the chair of the board this current year. Above and beyond that, it’s a great opportunity to see all the work that’s put forth behind the scenes and the generous giving of various individuals and foundations to help and assist people within the areas we serve,” Howe said.

He said he believes the 10-year anniversary is a worthwhile milestone to celebrate and promote what YCF has achieved since its inception.

Howe said two of YCF’s biggest accomplishments are assisting individuals with furthering their education by dispersing grants and scholarships, and supporting other nonprofits that provide aid to low-income individuals.

“It’s been very impactful and it’s been a great program to be associated with,” Howe said.

Billy Atkins, a previous YCF board member and current volunteer, said community foundations create a permanent source of funding for charitable work and offer opportunities for people of “all means” to contribute to funds supporting a variety of causes.

“YCF has grown significantly over 10 years and has already made a great impact on our community, but it will continue to grow and will have a much greater impact in the future,” Atkins said.

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