Staff and supporters received a detailed update on WACF during Wednesday’s annual luncheon, the first to be held since 2010. Last year’s gathering was cancelled in the wake of the April 27 tornado outbreak.
The role WACF has played in disaster relief was one of four initiatives highlighted during the luncheon. Board chairman Jack Allen presented the finances that have made each of those efforts possible.
Allen noted that WACF’s total assets doubled in size from more than $13 million in 2010 to more than $22 million by the end of 2011.
The majority of the increase can be attributed to two funds.
Barbara Drummond Thorne, a former WACF board director who passed away in 2009, left $5 million to the foundation.
Allen said the gift is one of the largest in WACF’s history. It is second only to the initial $6 million in proceeds from the sale of Walker Regional Medical Center that was used to establish the foundation in 1995.
Another substantial gift that WACF received in 2011 was $3.8 million from the Bankhead Fund, which was established following the death of Walter Will Bankhead in 1988.
Allen said that without fanfare, past WACF board chairman John Oliver Jr. and Bankhead’s grandchildren have spent years using the money for the purpose that Bankhead intended — helping the people of Walker County.
“They wanted that tradition to continue for generations to come, and they had enough confidence in our foundation to transfer the funds to the Walker Area Community Foundation to make sure that those funds will forever be used for the benefit of local citizens here,” Allen said.
Allen also pointed out four funds that received contributions in 2011 to be used for tornado recovery.
More than $539,00 in donations and grants were deposited in the Unmet Needs Fund last year.
Drummond Company, Inc. gave $250,000 to help its employees who were affected by the tornadoes as well as other storm survivors.
The city of Cordova can also expect to receive more than $1 million over the next five years as the result of two new WACF funds.
Cordova native Lewis Manderson and his wife, Faye, have pledged $500,000, which will be paid in five $100,000 installments and will go toward recovery and rebuilding efforts.
Allen said Manderson also challenged WACF to find a matching donation. That challenge was met through the Drummond, Thorne, Stukes Fund, which will also receive $100,000 a year for the next five years.
In all, WACF received more than $10.7 million in gifts for 2011.
The foundation’s annual report includes more than five pages of names representing the hundreds of donors who have supported WACF’s work.
“We are in better shape than we have ever been in at the Walker Area Community Foundation,” Allen said at the conclusion of his presentation.