Starting a foundation in Utah

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By utahvalley360.com

Although Utah is ripe with foundations, the Beehive State is not necessarily an easy place to raise money.

“We are not a particularly wealthy state or large state,” says Daniel Bolz, director for the Incredible Journey Arts Foundation. “We have about 10 truly wealthy people, and beyond that we have many people with average wages and net worths.”

Utah does have more than its share of foundations that exist to give away money, such as the Eccles Foundation and the Ashton Family Foundation.

Bolz, who has raised money for other corporations and foundations, says often Plan A for raising capital transforms into Plan B, and then becomes a hybrid with A to create Plan C.

One particularly frustrating Catch 22 that foundations often face is that corporations and individuals want to donate, but they don’t want to be the first ones. They may say, “Come back to me when you’ve reach half of your goal.” But it is difficult to make progress when everyone wants to wait until it is popular and less risky to jump on a particular philanthropic bandwagon.

Bolz acknowledges that The Incredible Journey Arts Foundation is able to be more than just a dream because members of the board, including the Prices, have all donated substantial amounts of personal money.

Central Bank has donated $50,000, and about 75 individual donors have given money.

The foundation is offering naming rights and other special incentives to acknowledge those willing to give.

But they know they can’t rely on only large donations. Small donations of time and resources may just be what gets the foundation off the ground and keeps it progressing.

“People can contribute in a cool way,” Gary says. “They can volunteer to help with classes, clean up the building, and with donations of in-kind services.”

Families in the median income range — about $40,000 — may consider providing a scholarship for one student or giving $25 a month.

“Like all foundations, we need a critical mass to reach our goals,” Bolz says.

With so many foundations reaching into a limited number of pockets, raising money isn’t an easy task.

“The goal for us has to be finding a match philosophically with donors,” Bolz says. “We want to find those people and organizations who believe that art can help children.”

Bolz says foundations also have to be clear with their message.

“You can’t be 100 different things,” he says. “It’s critical to be clear and direct on the goals for the foundation. This is the only way to get donors involved.”

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