History – About the Portage Foundation

The Portage Foundation was established in 1997 from the assets realized through the sale of the Greater Portage Area Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice. The Foundation was created to build a permanent source of income to meet community charitable needs and the philanthropic needs for our donors. The Portage Foundation is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 public charity and acts as a vehicle for giving, a source of grant assistance, a manager of non-profit endowment and as a facilitator around community issues. 

The Portage Foundation is organized as a community foundation, and is therefore, “a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, nonsectarian philanthropic institution with a long-term goal of building permanent, named component funds. These funds are established by many separate donors for the broad-based charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area.” (Source: National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations)

The Portage Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. Trustees serve in a volunteer capacity and provide oversight of the Foundation. The Board consists of at least nine members and not more than 21. Potential Trustees are recruited for their leadership abilities, knowledge of and involvement in the community, and willingness to serve. Trustees bear the responsibility for the overall governance, establishment of policy, raising funds and approving grants to non-profit organizations. Trustees are appointed to serve three-year terms and may not exceed three, three-year terms. Trustees are expected to make an annual personal financial gift to the Foundation each year. Trustees are encouraged to consider establishing an endowment or named fund.

The Board of Trustees meetings occur quarterly. The Officers consist of President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The Board has four committees: executive, grants and scholarship, investment and finance, and nominating. Committee meetings are determined by the chair of each committee. 

The Portage Foundation has six focus areas: Arts and Culture, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health, and Human Services.

Under the direction of the Board and its investment and finance committee, policies are established regarding investment management, spending policy, and performance of the investment managers. The Foundation currently has assets of more than $6 million. The Foundation’s assets are managed by PNC Institutional Asset Management and Key Bank. The Foundation’s bank is Portage Community Bank.

The Portage Foundation receives current and deferred gifts of all sizes from individuals, companies, foundations and other charitable organizations. A minimum contribution can establish a named fund, and gifts of any size may be given to support the mission of the Foundation or to increase a fund. Donors may establish funds that make grants to specific charitable organizations, to a broad field of interest or to fulfill any of the community’s most critical needs.

While other charities typically focus on specific issues such as health care or social services, The Portage Foundation makes grant distributions across a broad spectrum of needs. Foundation staff concentrate on building a permanent endowment to provide support for all types of charitable programs throughout the community. Foundation staff also concentrate on raising funds through its Excellence Fund (or annual support). Foundation staff work to assure donors their philanthropy will not become obsolete or impractical with the passage of time.