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Bank of America Entrusts More Than $22 Million to Community Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — After collaborating with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) for 29 years, the Bank of America in May transferred three trusts totaling more than $22 million to the Valley-wide grant funder.

The move brings CFWM’s total earned assets from roughly $153 million to $175 million and bolsters its role as an enduring philanthropic leader in the Pioneer Valley.

“That the Bank of America has enough faith in us and what we can do, and in our ability to effectively administer funds, acknowledges that we are truly a leader of philanthropy in the Pioneer Valley,” said Elizabeth Sillin, trustee chair of CFWM, adding that the increase in assets will help CFWM better position itself to attract funds from partners and other granting entities outside the region to support its work.

“The more internal muscle they see that we have, the more confident they will be in investing their dollars with us,” said Sillin, a partner with the law firm Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP. “The bigger and more effective you are, the more likely it is that you are going to attract other dollars.”

Founded in 1990, CFWM administers a charitable endowment consisting of more than 600 separately identified funds totaling approximately $175 million. Some of these charitable assets are unrestricted and used to meet emerging and changing needs in the region. Others support named nonprofit organizations or provide financial support to college-bound students. Still others are donor-advised, offering flexibility to donors in timing, amount, and beneficiary of their giving. Last year, CFWM awarded $7.3 million in grants to nonprofits and $2.2 million in scholarships and interest-free loans to more than 770 area students.

The Bank of America funds will continue to support a wide variety of organizations for generations to come, from grassroots community food pantries to region-spanning arts programs — and will preserve the original donors’ wishes to support their communities in perpetuity.

The three trusts transferred from the bank to the foundation are the Eugene A. Dexter Charitable Fund, established in 1944; the Nan and Matilda Heydt Fund, established in 1960; and the Valley Charitable Trust Fund, established in 1960. All three were originally created to support and serve charitable organizations and interests with a focus on Springfield and Hampden County.

“This transfer represents decades of a dedicated, collaborative effort between the foundation and the bank and is an inspiring example of how the legacy of philanthropy can have a profound and sustainable impact,” said Katie Allan Zobel, the Community Foundation’s president and CEO.

Carol Leary, longtime president of Bay Path University and an emeritus trustee of the foundation, added that “this significant act of philanthropy will have a lasting legacy and will certainly signal to other organizations or individuals the trust that Bank of America has in the board and the leadership of the foundation.”

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