Community Foundation & United Way: The Perdue-Kresge legacy demonstrates the power of endowments

The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) recently presented a $32,195 check to the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore (UWLES). Annually more than $120,000 is distributed from the fund held at the Community Foundation to benefit the United Way. The check represents a quarterly distribution from the UWLES Endowment Fund, established in 2002 as part of the Perdue-Kresge Challenge.


In December of 1999, the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan selected CFES as one of six partners nationwide to participate in its Kresge Challenge to Build Community Capital. The Community Foundation raised $1 million which was then matched by the Kresge Foundation for a total of $2 million.

Following the initial campaign CFES received a unique opportunity to bring matching funds to local nonprofit partners. The Kresge Foundation then issued a $2 million challenge, while the late Frank Perdue and his wife Mitzi made a $4 million gift to up the ante. As a result, nineteen local nonprofits were chosen to be eligible for a 1:1 match and build agency endowments held at CFES. UWLES was one of the beneficiaries, achieving one of the most ambitious fundraising goals of $1,000,000. The conclusion of the campaign in January of 2005 resulted in $12 million for agency endowments at the Community Foundation.


Today, due to sound investment strategy, the nineteen agency endowment funds total more than $17 million and have distributed over $10 million in grants to their respective nonprofits. The Perdue-Kresge Campaign highlights the power of endowment and the lasting impact of this community fundraising endeavor.


Pictured L-R: Pam Gregory, President & CEO of the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore; Erica Joseph, President of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.