Column: Endowment challenges use of Clymer funds | All access

In 1989, a group of civic-minded individuals formed the Clymer Foundation and began collecting artwork, fundraising, and preparing to open the Clymer Museum and Gallery, located at 416 N. Pearl St. The museum must collect, preserve, research and interpret art. and the life of John Clymer, the art of living of his contemporaries and the art of previous and following generations which describe and focus on the culture, life and country of Clymer’s America (original mission statement) .

In 1996 Sandra Kachlein, Robert Case Sr., Robert Jones, Janice Ludtka, Len Thayer (later replaced by Darwin Goodey) and Joe Fitterer were appointed as an endowment committee to raise funds for operations and maintenance of the museum, to raise funds for an endowment fund and invest them wisely to generate income for the museum. The committee was empowered to solicit funds, make judicious financial investments, and incur all costs associated with accepting and sustaining donations.

These dedicated individuals raised the $ 250,000, designated as Restricted Fund as well as all donations to the Foundation, required under the by-laws to begin distributing to the museum while continuing to grow the fund. The goal was reached in 2004 and distributions to the museum began. Today, the fund has grown to nearly $ 600,000, but under Washington Charitable Trust Laws and the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, RCW Chapter 24.55, donated funds are legally limited for the purposes and to the uses set out in the articles and only the income on the principal can be spent.

Moving to more current times from 2015, there have been numerous requests for large sums of money, between $ 11,000 and up to $ 60,000 on different occasions, to fuel the operations of the museum. The endowment has contributed to the funding as much as it could, only the principal’s income can be spent.

The Clymer Foundation had not identified the Endowment Fund on the balance sheet as restricted funds, distorting the financial position of the Clymer Foundation to new members and the public. The endowment committee documented multiple circumstances involving breaches of the fiduciary duties of the Foundation’s board of directors with respect to the governance and management of the museum.

For these and other reasons, the staffing committee formed a separate 501c3 in 2020. There have been various attempts to invade the principle, culminating with the current attempt to do away with the existing staffing committee with the people who are. in favor of doing so. The responsibility of the Endowment Council is to protect funds for long-term museum operations, and this cannot be accomplished if the principal is not maintained.

The Endowment Council has no other goal than to grow, strengthen and protect the endowment that has been distributed to the Foundation over the years, and will continue to do so. The Foundation Board wishes nothing more than to move forward for the good of both organizations and that the Foundation Board join us in this effort.

Zora Holmes is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Clymer Endowment Fund. In addition to Holmes, the board of directors is made up of Arlein Anderson, Edna Madsen, Teri Phillip (secretary / treasurer), Mary Seubert and Nicalee Smith.

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