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Grand Rapids Foundation

GRAND RAPIDS FOUNDATION (pp. 185, 186) An institution of vast importance for the future is the Grand Rapids Foundation, established in January, 1923, by the Association of Commerce and incorporated soon thereafter. This is in effect a permanent community trust, to be administered by a board of trustees for the moral, physical and mental welfare of the people.

The community trust plan is a recognition of two fundamental facts: First, the element of certain or constant change in our social structure and in our viewpoint with respect to charity; second, that the charitable problems of each generation can be better solved by the best minds of those generations.

The plan of the Grand Rapids Foundation may be summarized as this: An individual gives or bequeaths to the Michigan Trust company or to the Grand Rapids Trust company, property to be held in trust, the net income of which is to be paid by the chosen trust company to the trustees of the foundation, who will appropriate the money in what may seem the wisest and most beneficial ways to further the public welfare.

There are two advantages in this plan of procedure: First, the opportunity offered to residents and friends of Grand Rapids through concentration of funds to achieve good but constantly changing purposes; second, flexibility, because the foundation is perpetual and in ensuing years can determine the best uses to which its funds may be put.

The board of trustees of the Grand Rapids Foundation consists of eight trustees, not more than two of whom shall be affiliated with the same religious body, and all to serve without compensation. Two of the trustees are appointed by the president of the Association of Commerce, one by the presiding judge of the Kent county circuit court, one by the Clearing House association, two by the judge of the United States district court for western Michigan, one by the Michigan Trust company and one by the Grand Rapids Trust company. Appointments are for eight years.

In ordering the disbursement of the income of the foundation the board of trustees, acting with the approval of at least five members, has full discretion except insofar as limited by a donor or testator; and except that if a court of last resort shall adjudge the limitation specified as to charitable uses too broad, it shall order the disbursement of a third for the relief of the needy poor and the improvement of living conditions in Grand Rapids, a third for the care of the sick or aged, and a third for education or philanthropic research in the city.

Citizens of all classes, no matter whether rich or only in comfortable circumstances, are asked to donate funds while living, or bequeath them in their wills, to the Grand Rapids Foundation. Large and small gifts are lumped into one sum, and the income used in the wisest manner. Thus every dollar works for the good of the community.

The largest bequest received to date is $40,000 by the will of the late Robert D. Graham, good citizen if ever there was one. Many other men and women have specified in their wills that portions of their estates shall go to the foundation. There is no doubt that within a short time this community trust fund will grow to large proportions and in future days will be of exceptional benefit to the people of this city.

The present board of trustees consists of Lee M. Hutchins, chairman; Charles R. Sligh, Mrs. John W. Blodgett, Martin Carmody, William Judson, Emerson W. Bliss, T. W. Hefferan, and Julius H. Amberg. Lee H. Bierce is secretary.


Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
 Created: 10 December 1999
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/etten1926/foundation.html