An “Extra Mile” for the PACF’s 60th Anniversary

Some local people always go the “extra mile!” Doug Ritchie, spouse of Judy Sjostedt Ritchie, Executive Director Emerita, and friends, Mary Riccobene, the Bernard McDonough Foundation, Mary Anne and Doug Ketelsen, and the Mary M. Welch Advised Fund, are among those who regularly step up for the benefit of our community.

At our recent 60th Anniversary celebration, Doug, Mary, and Mary Anne, issued a challenge opportunity to help the PACF build its permanent operating endowment to honor Judy’s retirement.

Judy has meant so much to the Foundation and the community over her 24-year career. She started Give Local MOV, an annual one-day online fundraising event that raised more than $528,000 for 64 nonprofits in 2023, started the Civic Leaders Fellowship Program, secured PACF’s first permanent home (without incurring debt), and ensured continuous accreditation under the National Standards for Community Foundations. During her tenure, the Foundation has awarded nearly $50 million in grants and scholarships to organizations and individuals in our community.

A permanent operating endowment to ensure the sustainability and future competitiveness of the Foundation is a fitting tribute to Judy.

The Challenge Opportunity for PACF

Doug, Mary, and Mary Anne collectively offer to match $1:$1 the first $225,000 we raise by June 30, 2024 for the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Endowment Fund.

Questions you may ask:

Why does a Foundation need an operating endowment when it manages so much money itself?

PACF’s current charitable funds are specifically dedicated for charitable purposes assigned by their founding donors. Most PACF funds are unavailable to support its operations. PACF finances its annual budget primarily by assessing a modest fee on its assets under management. Since PACF keeps its fees low, there’s always a gap between what is generated in fee income and what it actually takes to operate well. This gap is filled by the Foundation’s annual Community Sponsors fundraising campaign.

PACF’s operations budget is impacted when a stock market downturn occurs from time to time. Building an administrative endowment helps to stabilize our operating income. Much like we manage endowments for many local nonprofit organizations that are created by donors interested in their long-term sustainability, it simply makes sense for the PACF to also grow its own resources to assure its strength and competitiveness.

Why does a Foundation need to be “competitive”?

That’s a very good question! While we don’t compete with other local nonprofits, it is essential to keep our management fees as low as possible, since several commercial charitable gift funds offered by major brokerages also offer low fee charitable funds. It’s important to keep PACF as the foundation of choice for our local donors, businesses, and nonprofits.

While the PACF will never match the economy of scale of a Fidelity, Vanguard, or Schwab brokerage platform, it is likewise true that those firms can never match PACF’s staff knowledge and personal assistance to local donors in addressing their charitable goals or the PACF’s direct and local impact in our community.

While local touch comes at a premium, our fee to cover that aspect cannot be too large, or some donors may choose to take their charitable dollars outside of our community. Unlike PACF --- headquartered in Parkersburg, WV, since 1963 --- the commercial charitable gift accounts of Fidelity, Vanguard, and Schwab are headquartered in Boston (MA), Valley Forge (PA), and Westlake (TX), respectively.

The Parkersburg area benefits in so many ways from funds that are held in our local Foundation. Our staff have deep, first-hand knowledge of our region, its local leaders, and our needs. We partner daily with other area funders, nonprofits, churches, and governments to address major needs. Our local economy benefits from the spending on staff, supplies and equipment, contracted services, and management of significant portions of our investment portfolio in our area.

Our staff are engaged in collaborative initiatives related to reading, foster care, substance use disorders, and backpack and out-of-school feeding programs. We provide hands-on assistance to hundreds of area high school students, parents, and guidance counselors across 11-counties in navigating and applying for PACF scholarships. Our grantmaking from our unrestricted and field of interest funds is guided by a diverse and talented Board of 25 citizens from across our 11-county service region and additional citizens who participate in local Boards in our Regional Affiliate communities.

The scope of our local impact is incredible. We need your help to meet this special challenge and to enhance our operational sustainability for the community’s long-term benefit.