Tuesday, November 29, 2016

BMCF expands asset management

Walla Walla foundation expands asset management

A $5M scholarship fund for Prosser students tapped Blue Mountain Community Foundation to manage it.


Blue Mountain Community Foundation has been chosen to manage the nearly $5 million in assets of the Prosser Scholarship Fund.

With assets and scholarship opportunities growing, it made sense to look for appropriate management of the money, said Robert Stevens, president of the fund established in 1975 for college-bound students in the Benton County town.

Walla Walla-based BMCF not only has the expertise and technology, but has modest fees for managing funds, he added. The foundation has grown to more than $40 million in assets since it began 30 years ago.

It facilitates more than 300 charitable trusts benefiting people in Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon and distributes about $2 million in grants and scholarships annually.

The Prosser Scholarship Fund was seeded in 1975 when James Houston, a 1951 graduate of Prosser High School, was attending University of Washington.

“He had problems making ends meet, so some local business guys helped him out,” Stevens said

Houston graduated with an engineering degree and went on to have a successful career in the building industry all over the country.

He also helped start a scholarship fund in his hometown so other Prosser college students could have financial help while going on to higher education. This month the fund received a memorial gift from the Merle Burnham-Caulkins estate. Burnham was also a 1951 graduate of Prosser High School, Stevens said.

“This donation will significantly increase the number and amount of scholarships awarded by the Prosser Scholarship Fund for the Class of 2017 and beyond.”

The Prosser Scholarship Fund also includes the Olney Family Scholarship Fund. The Olney family had a furniture store in town for many years, and the sale of the store in 2006 went into helping Prosser students.