La Cañada Flintridge was one of the first communities in the nation to establish a permanent funding source for its public schools. Patterned after university endowments, the Foundation established its Endowment Fund in 1992 as a permanent fund to enhance and stabilize the long-term growth of the Foundation’s annual gift to the La Cañada Unified School District.
The Educational Foundation had long discussed the need for an endowment fund, whose income would supplement the Foundation’s annual contribution to the La Cañada Unified School District. In June, 1991, Gene Stein, a Director of the Educational Foundation, volunteered to lead the effort to establish a permanent Endowment Fund. An endowment committee held meetings during the summer and autumn of 1991 with community leaders, individuals with experience regarding endowment funds, the Administration of the school district and the Educational Foundation board.
These efforts resulted in the establishment of by-laws for the Endowment Fund, approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors on February 13, 1992. The Endowment Fund was established as a permanent fund whose purpose was to enhance and stabilize the long-term growth of the Educational Foundation’s annual gift to the public schools in La Cañada Flintridge with investment policies that were to be prudent and long term oriented.
The by-laws also established a separate five person Endowment Committee (later renamed the Endowment Trustees) to oversee and administer the Fund. The initial members of this group, elected by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, were Bill Horsfall , Laura Olhasso , Neal Brockmeyer, Charles Broberg and Gene Stein.
Fundraising began in June, 1992. In the first year of fundraising, 57 individuals or organizations joined the permanent group of Charter Contributors who gave $1,000 or more during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1993. In that first fiscal year, the Fund received paid contributions of $61,420, and additional multi-year pledges of $58,250.
In 1996, the Trustees and the Foundation established a goal of $1,000,000 in Endowment Fund assets by year-end 2000. A campaign was announced to reach this goal, encouraging donors to contribute $7,500 over 5 years. At December 31, 2000, the Fund’s assets were $1,118,922.
The Fund made its first disbursement in January 1994 to the Educational Foundation’s annual gift to La Cañada’s public schools. That first gift was $1,224, which was 5% of the Fund’s total value on January 1, 1993. Disbursements increased steadily during the decade of the 1990’s, reaching $47,438 paid in January, 2001. To date the Endowment Fund has contributed over $1.25 million to the LCFEF’s annual fund and La Cañada schools and its corpus sits at just over $5.5 million.