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.

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About the Community Foundation: As leaders, grant makers, and stewards of philanthropy, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore connects people who care to causes that matter for the common good of the Lower Eastern Shore. We are a 501c3 nonprofit with an inspiring history of fostering charitable endeavors, and have provided more than $80 million in grants and scholarships to the local community since 1984. We collaborate with individuals, families, and businesses to match their charitable interests with community needs and strengthen local nonprofits through grants and resources. We are devoted to improving our regional community and believe in the power of philanthropy.

About United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore:

Now in its 74th year, United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore provides funding and direct services for over 80 critical programs serving Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset and Dorchester Counties. United Way helps Eastern Shore residents obtain Educational Success by reducing the achievement gap between low and middle income students, Financial Stability by advancing the economic security of families and individuals in our community, and Good Health by improving access to and awareness of local health and wellness services. United Way provides over $1.6 million to community programs, impacting 1 of every 3 individuals on the Lower Shore. For more information on United Way or to get involved, visit www.unitedway4us.org or on Facebook @uwles.

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