Bank of America entrusts $22M to Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to help it fulfill its philanthropic mission

Published: 2/2/2020 11:51:59 PM

SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has received a financial boost from Bank of America, which last year transferred three trusts totaling over $22 million to help the organization fulfill its philanthropic mission in the Valley.

The move brings CFWM’s total earned assets from roughly $153 million to $175 million and will help the foundation attract funds from partners and other granting entities outside the region to support its work, which includes grants for nonprofits, scholarships and interest-free loans for students and more.

“That the Bank of America has enough faith in us and what we can do, and in our ability to effectively administer funds, acknowledges that we are truly a leader of philanthropy in the Pioneer Valley,” Elizabeth H. Sillin, trustee chair of CFWM, said in a press release.

“The bigger and more effective you are, the more likely it is that you are going to attract other dollars,” she added.

Founded in 1990, CFWM administers a charitable endowment consisting of over 600 separate funds. Some of these charitable assets are unrestricted and are used to meet emerging and changing needs in the region. Others support named nonprofit organizations or provide financial support to college-bound students. Still others are donor advised, offering flexibility to donors in timing, amount and beneficiary of their giving. Last year, CFWM awarded $7.3 million in grants to nonprofits, and $2.2 million in scholarships and interest-free loans to over 770 area students.

The Bank of America funds will continue to support a wide variety of organizations for generations to come, from grassroots community food pantries to arts programs — and will preserve the original donors’ wishes to support their communities in perpetuity.

Serving Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties, CFWM is fueled by over 150 volunteers who take on tasks ranging from reviewing scholarship applications to serving on committees focused on finance, investing, education and philanthropy.

At the end of its first fiscal year in 1991, CFWM reported assets of $830,730, representing the first group of donors and contributors.

“The transfer marks the largest single gain in its assets,” CFWM Trustee George Arwady said. “Generations of local families will benefit.”

Arwady explained, “By adding these new assets to CFWM, the foundation increases its ability to meet the needs of the community while also increasing its visibility and attractiveness to other donors who are looking for the right vehicle for their funds to make the most difference.”

The three trusts transferred from the bank to the foundation are: The Eugene A. Dexter Charitable Fund, established in 1944; The Nan and Matilda Heydt Fund, established in 1960; and The Valley Charitable Trust Fund, established in 1960. All three were originally created to support and serve charitable organizations and interests with a focus on Springfield and Hampden County.

While the bank transfer provides growth for the CFWM, Sillin said another recent advancement for the organization was Valley Gives Day, which ran from 2012 to 2018. Valley Gives Day helped area nonprofits increase their giving by accepting donations online, and it also earned trust and visibility for the foundation. Over $10 million was raised over the six 24-hour giving days.

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