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News & Event

AAACF Update: Week of 4/13-17/2020

In this week’s update, we examine the nexus between institutions and individuals. Engagement with both organizations and people informs every aspect of our work, and here we highlight three examples.

Community Networks Identify Solutions

Last week, we noted our data-driven grantmaking responses to the COVID crisis. In addition to quantitative data, such as local Public Health statistics and United Way’s 211 call data, we also value qualitative data from various networks in our community. For several  years, we have been developing what we term “community voice initiatives” — asking people in communities about their aspirations and challenges — and using that data to shape our grantmaking (e.g., In Our Neighborhood grants program). AAACF is now activating these same networks to identify immediate and direct community-driven solutions during this crisis. We are asking, listening, and braiding together what we hear from institutions and individuals. Stay tuned for information on new grants next week in response to emerging feedback!

Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund (A2EF) Activated

When Trista Van Tine committed in early March to becoming the first Director of the Foundation’s Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund (A2EF), she knew that A2EF’s vision to connect local entrepreneurs with each other and with our community was a compelling concept. With her entrepreneurial experience at both a venture fund in California and an international biotech startup, Trista has quickly ramped up even during a pandemic to enhance the A2EF initiative for both networking and social impact. Trista has returned to her native state of Michigan, where she earned a BA from U-M, after impressive roles in marketing communications, project management and business development in London, California (where she also earned an MA from USC), New York, and Switzerland. We are excited Trista has joined the AAACF team to help deepen the role that startups play throughout our community.

Nonprofit Endowments Are Stable Revenue 

In addition to $800,000 in grants already activated for Washtenaw County from various funds at AAACF, the Foundation will also be mobilizing annual distributions this spring (and fall) from our nonprofit endowment funds — representing $1 million in new payouts! The endowment funds we hold for more than 125 nonprofits are a stable source of revenue because each year’s payout is calculated based on four prior years of average balances. Payouts are further stabilized by AAACF’s investment strategy to help mitigate market volatility. Nonprofit endowment funds can be established by people who want to support their favorite organizations in perpetuity (annuitizing your annual giving!) as well as by nonprofit organizations that direct their own monies to create a fund managed for their benefit with our endowment expertise.

As the dedicated endowment for Washtenaw County, we’re working at the nexus of individuals and institutions to support our community during this crisis — and in the post-pandemic future!

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