Waltersdorf Henson Endowment Challenge Celebrates 10 Years

Ten years ago, the Community Foundation launched the Waltersdorf Henson Endowment Challenge, a $10 million campaign made possible through the vision and generosity of the late John Waltersdorf and the Richard Henson Foundation. Interested local nonprofit organizations had to complete an application in order to participate. The Waltersdorf/Henson Agency Review Committee selected 16 organizations from a total of 35.

W-H Signing 2Each organization had different goals for raising the combined total of $5 million in endowed funds over the course of five years. Mr. Waltersdorf and the Henson Foundation then matched the funds raised dollar for dollar. The 16 organizations exceeded their goal of $5 million by over $127,000!

As the sponsoring entity, the Challenge automatically named the Community Foundation as a participating organization where the funds would become part of the Foundation’s annual unrestricted grants. The other nonprofits included: Antietam Healthcare Foundation (now Meritus), Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage, Hagerstown Community College Foundation, Hagerstown YMCA, Hood College, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Mercersburg Academy, REACH, Rotary Sunrise Foundation, Saint James School, St. Maria Goretti High School, Star Community, United Way Foundation, USMH Magnolia Foundation and Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

Using the Foundation’s Spending Discipline, it took five years for each organization’s endowment to “mature” to full value, which should have resulted in distributions totaling $500,000. However, due to its successful investment strategy, the Community Foundation processed distributions totaling almost $665,000 from endowments designated for the 16 participating organizations. All of this money directly supports the Washington County community through scholarships, educational programs, special events, operating expenses and other programs and services.

“Mr. Waltersdorf felt very strongly about the good leveraged through endowments, which deliver a stable source of income in perpetuity for the beneficiary, rather than a spendable principal which can disappear quickly,” said Executive Director Brad Sell. “We are so thankful for the opportunity and funds the Waltersdorf Henson Endowment Challenge provided and will continue to provide on a yearly basis. We would love to hold another Challenge Campaign!”