Letter from Alisa: Our Response to These Times


April 8, 2020


Dear Friends,

Much has changed in our lives in just a few weeks.  Not long ago most of us had barely heard of the Coronavirus or thought of it as an illness affecting people in another country far away.  Today we are self-isolating and social distancing—words and actions we have recently learned.   COVID-19 has become a major disruptor of our lives.  Yet, life does, and must, go on.

By now you have received much advice on how to protect yourself and your family.  I hope you are well, heed the recommendations, and place the health of your family and our community first.

There are several aspects of COVID-19 that affect the Rush County Community Foundation.

Let me share with you how we are responding to the following:

  • The effect of the stock market on the investment of our funds
  • The effect of the stock market on RCCF’s grants and distributions
  • The effect of the stock market on RCCF’s operating budget
  • The health and wellness of our stakeholders, staff and volunteers

Within the past six weeks the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined by 20%.  It is important to keep in mind our endowment funds are intended to last forever and we knowingly accept the ups and downs in the market to capture the long-term benefit (an average return greater than timing the market).  Our investment portfolio has components of equity (stocks) which are impacted by market volatility, but these assets are complemented by fixed income (bonds) and other investments to reduce overall risk in times like these.  The Foundation’s investment portfolio is carefully managed and invested for the long-term, and governed by an Investment Policy Statement that takes abnormal market situations into consideration.  Because we have experienced (and recovered from) a decline like this before in 2008, we have experience managing our investments in this environment.  Our investment manager, Capital Cities, is closely monitoring the market and will make adjustments as appropriate.

The Rush County Community Foundation is prepared for such a time as this.  Our Finance & Investment Committee meets, and will continue to meet, to discuss how our investment allocation and spending rate align to ensure that grants of relatively equal value can be made while we try to preserve the principal value of endowments.  This is not perfect math, but our adherence to the established Investment Policy Statement will ensure that we do our best to serve our community’s needs now AND in the future.

The Board of Directors and staff at RCCF have been saving diligently for years to accumulate an operating reserve that will last us for more than 2 years.  Even though our operating revenue will decline because fund market values decline, we can continue to operate at full capacity for the foreseeable future.

For the safety of our staff, volunteers, and our community, our physical office will remain closed to the public until May 4stEven though the office will be closed, your Community Foundation will be open for business.  Grants will continue to be made to support our community’s greatest needs.  Donations can be mailed to our office or accepted on our website.  Every staff member will be available by email and phone.

The RCCF Board of Directors and staff is committed to serving our community through ongoing leadership and grantmaking.  In a time of “social distance,” we remain connected to YOU and our community.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Be well!


Alisa Winters

Executive Director


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