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Rotarians Theresa DiLoretto and Ralph Serpe talked about the Community Foundation. Theresa –a member of the Chambersburg Rotary – is Certified Fund Raising Executive with the Adams County Community Foundation Fundraiser. Ralph — a member of the Gettysburg Rotary – is the CEO of the Foundation. It was noted the purpose of a Community Foundation, of which there are 800 to 900 in the US is a bit different from other charitable entities.

A community foundation’s programs are supported both by donations designated for immediate distribution and income from the foundation’s endowed funds. Such funds are a permanent source of funds that is invested for long-term growth. Each year, some of the funds (typically around 5 percent) are disbursed for community grants. The specific issue our speakers address was something called grant displacement. This issue is troubling, pernicious, and a generally unknown activity used by institutes of higher education when granting scholarships. A student is accepted by a school with an aid grant to assist the student, but if the student receives a scholarship or aid from another entity – say a Rotary Club or other source, the school deducts the money from the original financial package – in essence the monies become a zero sum game. Happily, four states have passed laws or rules to prohibit their state schools from such activities and Pennsylvania is one of them. Ralph suggested any granting agency send a letter to the school prohibiting them from such actions or return the check.