Glenwood resident Pat Bartsokas (center), one of the new endowment’s early advocates, celebrates with her neighbors.

Earlier this year, the Residents Association of Glenwood Community — a United Church Homes’ older adult independent and assisted living community in Marietta, Ohio — came up with a unique idea: start an Endowment Fund to help ensure and enhance the future of Glenwood’s resident life programs.

“This is not a common practice for United Church Homes,” says the Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes (UCH), “but the Residents Association there wanted to start a new endowment fund. We require an endowment to start with at least $50,000. Since a group of residents was starting this, we offered them the chance to build up to that level over five years.”

Thanks to several committed residents, the fund has raised $46,475 in just 10 months. “We’ve raised this amount in 10 months, when we thought it would take up to five years,” says Alissa Clouse, UCH’s director of major gifts and grants. “When this initiative started, I was impressed by the fact that it was resident driven, and the residents saw the value in strategic giving. But I also felt the five-year, $50,000 goal might be aggressive. But here we are, less than one year later, and they’ve almost met their goal!”

Part of the impetus for the fund is due to the advocacy of residents Roger and Sally Roberts, whose interest in leading an initiative with their peers became contagious. “I was looking for a vehicle for residents to be able to give back to Glenwood,” says Roger.

Roger Roberts and Pat Bartsokas, seen here with Glenwood Executive Director Linda Dailey and UCH President and CEO the Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel, helped get the fund’s campaign off the ground.

An anonymous $10,000 gift started the campaign for the fund. Donations have come in via IRA-required minimum distributions, memorial gifts already held by the Residents Association, and regular donations.

“It’s important for the residents of this community to know that what we are appreciating and enjoying now will be here for future residents to enjoy,” says Pat Bartsokas, a Glenwood resident. “Through this fund, the community may even be enhanced compared to what we have now.”

Bartsokas says the progress made so far is due in large part to the trust between Glenwood Community residents and United Church Homes that has grown since Glenwood became part of the UCH family in 2015. “It speaks volumes about the enthusiasm of the residents here in their enjoyment of their community and the services that are provided, as well as the wonderful atmosphere in which we live.”

Clouse concurs. “Throughout this process, I’ve been inspired by the generosity and dedication of the residents,” she says. “They’re not only donating financial resources, but they’re donating their talents by soliciting and educating their peers. This is truly a resident-driven initiative, and the residents of Glenwood Community are passionate about continuing the legacy of their community.”

Linda Dailey, Glenwood’s executive director, agrees. “Glenwood Community is not a community in name only,” she says. “Our generous residents have proven this by establishing an endowment to support one another well beyond the immediate future. Their commitment to our community and its future is evidence of the family that grows with [the addition of] each new resident. Their support will carry on past their personal residence at Glenwood. We are grateful for their philanthropy, support and leadership.”