June 13, 2010
The Harvest Foundation had $194 million in net assets as of April 30, which is $30 million more than it had at the end of 2009 but $7 million less than its peak.
“We feel very confident” that Harvest has sufficient funds to support community initiatives and programs, said Allyson Rothrock, executive director of Harvest.
According to the foundation’s 2009 annual report, released Friday, its assets peaked in 2007 at $201 million. The following year, the assets fell to their lowest level, $134 million, due to the nation’s financial meltdown and stock market crash in 2008, Rothrock said.
Harvest’s assets were down 24 percent “at the worst part of it,” she said.
In response, Harvest froze the salaries of all its staff and “cut back every line item we could, from office supplies to travel to professional development,” she added. “We were very conservative last year and this” with the foundation’s administration budget.
At the same time, Harvest never cut its grant budget of $8 million to $10 million a year, Rothrock said.
By 2009, the foundation’s assets rebounded by $30 million to reach $164 million, Harvest reported.
Since the end of that year, the assets have grown by another $30 million to $194 million due to the performance of the foundation’s investments, Rothrock said. She added that they are spread out in stocks, bonds and other financial instruments as they have been in the past.
Harvest has an independent consultant, Colonial Consultants, which advises it on investments according to its asset allocation policy, Rothrock said. A committee of the Harvest board meets regularly to decide on the investments.
The foundation was created in 2002 from more than $163 million in proceeds from the sale of Memorial Health Systems. It invests those funds and uses the money for health, education and community vitality initiatives in the Henry County-Martinsville area.
According to the 2008-09 annual report, Harvest awarded 31 grants in 2008-09 totaling $8,879,745. It also approved a $340,000 loan to the city of Martinsville to buy the Henry Hotel, the first grant of its kind for Harvest.
“Any small community with ambitious plans to grow must build economic strength, increase opportunity, capitalize on natural resources, appeal to new businesses and attract visitors and new residents,” the annual report states. “Many of The Harvest Foundation’s initiatives in 2008-09 focused on those very goals.”
According to a letter in the report from Rothrock and Paul B. Toms Jr., president of the Harvest board, the foundation has moved from assessing community needs to “creating positive community change. This positive change is evident in all three of The Harvest Foundation’s focus areas.”
In the area of education, Harvest funds were used for early childhood development and parental support as well as after-school programs and college readiness. The report noted improvements in local students’ academic performance which, the letter stated, was due in part to “the foundation’s tremendously successful $5 million/five year K-12 Grade Education Initiative,” as well as tenacity and dedication of teachers and educators.
The foundation has approved another $4.4 million grant for the schools over the next five years to continue that initiative.
The annual report noted that 86 students have graduated from the New College Institute since its inception in 2007, and three more have completed their teacher endorsements. Last year, Harvest provided $3,369,618 to match funds requested from the General Assembly to support existing and proposed NCI programs, the report stated.
In the area of health, the foundation supported Activate Martinsville/Henry County and the Coalition for Health and Wellness, which have promoted prevention programs, worksite wellness programs, family education and screenings and other efforts.
“Through the coalition, we also improved access to health care for all. The MedAssist program filled 5,500 new prescriptions, the Free Medical Clinic increased the number of patients it served and the Bassett Family Practice provided an affordable ‘medical home’ to many,” Rothrock and Toms wrote.
Over the past two years, the report noted, MedAssist filled 36,000 prescription at a retail value of $15.3 million.
Also, the foundation “didn’t merely sustain our level of community vitality, but significantly increased it,” Rothrock and Toms wrote.
It did that by encouraging residents to take part in nature programs and an expanded network of nature trails, supported the revitalization of uptown Martinsville and provided grants for the arts.
The annual report also noted last year’s opening of the Smith River Sports Complex, which is designed to begin developing an alternative industry in sports tourism and help the area’s economic viability.
“In the coming years, we’re confident that the complex will become a focal point for activity in our region, enhancing the prestige of our area and acting as a tool to attract others here,” the report states.
In the future, Rothrock said Harvest will continue to look at proposals and invest in its three core areas.
“We also will continue to invest in the community, even during these difficult economic times, because our work with our partners is laying the groundwork for a promising future,” Rothrock and Toms wrote.
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