GREENVILLE— Stanley and Blanche Ash strongly believed in the Montcalm Community College and Greenville Area Community foundations during their lifetimes.
Both foundations will benefit after the couple’s deaths — Stanley in 2004 and Blanche earlier this fall.
Gordon Stauffer, president of the Ash Foundation, said the Ash Foundation’s remaining assets will be divided up between the college and community foundations. The amount each foundation is receiving has not yet been determined.
Stanley Ash was a founder of the MCC Foundation and chaired it for many years. Stanley and Blance both were actively involved with the Greenville Area Community Foundation (GACF) through the years.
GACF president and CEO Alison Barberi said the two endowment funds will be Stanley and Blanche Ash Community Improvement Fund and the other will be Stanley and Blanche Ash Educational Fund.
“The educational fund’s primary focus will be scholarships to students from throughout Montcalm County and Belding,” Barberi said.
GACF will be working closely with the MCC Foundation regarding scholarships to make sure the endowments make the most impact for the county’s graduating seniors, Barberi said.
“(The Ashes) were very interested in education,” Stauffer said.
Baberi said all Ash scholarships that were awarded last spring will be handled by GACF in the future. Letters will be mailed shortly with contact information and the steps to take.
The Stanley and Blanche Ash Community Improvement Endowment is an unrestricted fund from which the GACF will award grants for area needs.
Barberi said the endowment funds will be handled like the others, but there are some special circumstances that are in the process of being sorted out.
The first scholarship will be awarded from the education fund this spring, she said. The first grants from community improvement fund awarded next fall for 2013.
“We typically need new funds to be fully invested for at least a year before we have earnings to use for grants,” she said.
The GACF is expecting the entire county to benefit from Blanche Ash’s generosity either through scholarships to graduating students or by supporting area non-profits as they provide services to citizens of Montcalm County, Barberi said.
“Because Blanche was so involved in the private foundation Stan and Blanche started years ago, we know she understood and valued the benefits of endowments so there is support for area nonprofits for years to come,” Baberi said. “The GACF humbly accepts the responsibility and her trust to maintain their legacy in a manner that would make them proud.”
MCC plans to split the money it receives into an education fund and a community enhancement fund.
MCC Foundation Executive Director Terry Smith said the educational fund will be used to provide scholarships to MCC students. MCC Foundation directors still are determining how the community enhancement fund will be utilized.
To start closing out the funds for the Ash Foundation, Stauffer said the foundation presented checks for commitments that have been made over the years, which were all paid in full.
A bulk of the funds will be distributed to the GACF and MCC Foundation soon. Any remaining money will also split between the two after assets and other materials are sorted out.