Ventura County Community Foundation Wants To Triple Assets By 2026

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This story was originally published on the Pacific Coast Business Times, and can be found here.

The Ventura County Community Foundation has announced an ambitious goal of tripling in size to around $500 million in assets by 2026.

VCCF CEO Vanessa Bechtel told about 250 community leaders at a May 22 luncheon that the foundation hopes to capture a larger share of estate gifts in Ventura County in the coming decade. Those gifts are estimated to be around $1.1 billion a year for the next decade, she said, citing a recent research report by California Lutheran University.

She said one goal of the endowment boost was to increase the size of unrestricted funds available to Ventura County nonprofits. “Since 2008, nonprofits have been really stretched, with disasters happening right at the peak giving season” in the past two years. “Unrestricted funds are falling short,” she said.

Bechtel said the foundation’s funding base has been bolstered by $24 million in disaster-related funding raised in the 18 months since the Thomas fire. The foundation recently received $15 million in endowment funds for animal welfare and medical research as part of a grant from the California Attorney General.

VCCF went through a series of downsizing moves amid an audit of its finances by the Attorney General’s Office, Chair Scott Hanson recounted that the organization received a letter from the AG’s office indicating the audit issues had been resolved on Dec. 5, 2017, just hours before the Thomas fire swept through Santa Paula and Ventura, burning hundreds of homes.

With the trust of the AG’s office and the proven capacity to manage large donations related to the Thomas fire, Borderline shootings and Hill and Woolsey fires, Bechtel said it is time to look forward.

“We are positioned to build new dreams,” she said.

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