Retiring United Way Executive Director Jane McIntyre is being credited with many things in her final week, but her biggest legacy could be a behind-the-scenes campaign to beef up the agency’s largely forgotten endowment, the Legacy Foundation.
The endowment – which is considered a supplemental source of money – had languished to $500,000 at the time McIntyre joined the agency in 2009.
However, five years later, it was nearly $4.9 million, including $3 million shifted from the agency’s reserves, and hundreds of thousands of dollars more raised from estate gifts and corporate gifts.
On Tuesday, that endowment became $415,000 richer – taking it up to $5.3 million – when a group of philanthropists unveiled a new component of the Legacy Endowment to honor McIntyre’s decades of community service.
It is called the Jane L. McIntyre Endowment, and the fund’s purpose will be to support United Way’s programs, which last year helped about 300,000 people in need. To date, 141 donors have contributed to the new fund, officials said.
Organizers of the McIntyre Fund said the unveiling Tuesday was also designed to increase awareness of the Legacy Foundation, which is money meant to stay invested so the interest income can be collected over decades for charity needs.
McIntyre said she only recently learned a fund was being created in her name, but she wasn’t allowed to know details or how much was raised until Tuesday’s announcement.
“This is the greatest gift you can give to someone who is a fundraiser,” said McIntyre, before joking that she’d have warned the group to stay off her fundraising turf.
“It’s a brilliant idea, but if they had asked me, I’d have told them it’s not a good idea to be raising money while (United Way is) running its annual campaign. I’d have told them to let us finish our campaign first.”
United Way finished its annual campaign last week, raising $21.6 million.
Board member Susan Faulkner chaired the McIntyre Fund Endowment campaign, which she says began about six months ago. Faulkner said the goal now is to see the fund grow.
“Jane has done so much for not only our United Way, but for the entire community during her career of service,” said Faulkner. “Beyond celebrating her many achievements, creating this fund in her honor ensures that Jane will permanently impact our community. She may be retiring, but her work will continue evermore.”
McIntyre, who retires Friday, took over United Way when it was in a financial crisis that began when a pay and benefits scandal erupted involving former CEO Gloria Pace King. In the years since, the agency has adopted many new policies meant to ensure there is never a repeat of the affair, and McIntyre has worked to rebuild trust among donors who lost faith in the agency’s spending decisions.
Legacy foundations are common among nonprofits, and some United Way agencies around the nation have funds so large that the interest alone covers their annual operating expenses, McIntyre says.
Beefing up the Legacy Foundation was one of the few United Way projects McIntyre says she lost sleep over. When she joined the agency in 2009, the fund was a largely ignored source of charity income. The Legacy Foundation is a separately run nonprofit that works with donors who want to leave money to United Way as part of an estate gift, will or insurance policy.
McIntyre eventually hired a part-time staffer to work on the fund, a job that included contacting donors who had made pledges to the endowment years earlier. The result has been a slow climb that she hopes will continue.
The endowment is separate from United Way’s Stability Fund, which is a pot of money set aside to cover six months of allocations for United Way’s 82 member charities in case of a social crisis, cyberattack or natural disaster. In recent years, United Way’s board has used money from the stability fund when annual campaigns fell short, including $985,104 taken from reserves last year.