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Cohort Helps Nonprofits with Training and Support to Launch an Endowment

When Sean Meyerhoffer, CEO of Brent’s Place, first began conversations with staff and board members about opening an endowment, they considered many options. After talking with financial institutions and foundations, they decided to open an endowment fund at Rose Community Foundation and participate in the Foundation’s Nonprofit Endowment Cohort.

The cohort program is designed to give nonprofit organizations the tools and knowledge to integrate endowment building into their development work. Over an eight month period, members of the cohort meet regularly for training, support and shared learning. The goal is that by the end of the program, participating organizations have launched their own endowment funds and developed a long-term plan for the solicitation and stewardship of endowment and legacy gifts.

“We looked at other options, but felt that Rose was the best fit. It felt more like a partnership versus a purely financial relationship,” says Meyerhoffer. “Through my conversations with the Rose staff, I always felt there was a sincere desire to help us build capacity and strengthen our organization.”

Brent’s Place provides a long-term home away from home for children and families with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses while they receive treatment at local hospitals. More than half of the patients they serve are children receiving bone marrow transplants. In addition to medically appropriate housing, they provide a variety of uniquely-tailored programs for the entire family designed to lessen the emotional, physical, and social burdens they face as a result of their loved ones’ illnesses.

“The work we do is capital intensive,” says Meyerhoffer. “As we explore growth as an organization, we don’t want to risk losing what we’ve already created. The endowment gives us a nest egg to support future expansion, and shows us that we don’t have to grow at the expense of sustainability.”

Members of the Nonprofit Endowment Cohort participate in trainings that address many of the essential components of launching and growing an endowment, including marketing, donor stewardship, solicitation of endowment and legacy gifts, and gift acceptance policies. Organizations also receive one-on-one coaching throughout the year with a member of the Rose Community Foundation Philanthropic Services team.

For Meyerhoffer, one of the greatest benefits of participating in the cohort was learning alongside other nonprofit organizations facing similar challenges. Having different members of the Brent’s Place team participate in trainings also allowed for staff to learn best practices, ask questions, and understand the details of endowment building. Meyerhoffer appreciated that the Rose staff is available as an ongoing resource for continued questions.

“To be able to tell donors that we have the support of and relationship with Rose Community Foundation builds credibility for our organization,” says Meyerhoffer. “I would encourage others to consider participating in the cohort, and to take advantage of this unique structure and opportunity.”

Applications for the next Nonprofit Endowment Cohort are currently open until May 31. Learn more about Brent’s Place and the work they do to support children and families in the Greater Denver community.


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