New funds sought for parks

The City of Warren is looking at a new way to try to fund its parks.

The Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday expressed a desire to move ahead on a proposal to start a donor-advised fund potentially in conjunction with the Community Foundation of Warren County.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, “a donor-advised fund is a separately identified fund or account that is maintained and operated by a section 501(c)(3) organization, which is called a sponsoring organization. Each account is composed of contributions made by individual donors. Once the donor makes the contribution, the organization has legal control over it. However, the donor, or the donor’s representative, retains advisory privileges with respect to the distribution of funds and the investment of assets in the account.”

In this case, the 501(c)(3) sponsoring organization would be the Community Foundation.

City Administrator Mary Ann Nau said that one need to get the fund going is seed money.

“The Erie library had a million dollar painting they sold to get their foundation started,” said Nau.

But the upside is clear.

“Once you get that fund established and people can donate to that fund, (we) can use it for parks,” Nau said.

Nau told the commission that Community Foundation Executive Director Dr. Charles MacKenzie informed her the city would need to set up a separate committee for the fund.

City Manager Nancy Freenock said the Parks and Recreation Commission could serve as that committee.

Nau said this item would need to move to Warren City Council for approval.

“A lot of the communities are doing this,” said Nau. “The nice thing about this is there are so many new rules. The Foundation provides you that umbrella.”