Matching grant would help Empty Bowls feed the area’s hungry

Empty Bowls Monongalia has been offered $4,000 in matching funds for its Empty Bowls Endowment Fund, managed by Your Community Foundation (YCF).

        The funds will be donated by First United Bank & Trust and other private donors provided that YCF can acquire a matching amount of contributions from the community. Together, the matching grants will be used to build the endowment fund that helps to feed the hungry in Monongalia County.

        “We’re thrilled that First United Bank has extended this offer to contribute to Empty Bowls, an organization that has done exceptional work in our community since 2007,” said Beth Fuller, president of YCF. “We’re calling on other generous individuals in the area to help us raise our matching share and continue to support an organization that improves the quality of life in Monongalia County.”

        Empty Bowls Monongalia established its endowment fund with YCF in January to help with its hunger relief projects in the county, and to raise public awareness of food security and related issues, according to Corey Farris, chairman of the Empty Bowls Board of Directors.

        “We will continue to hold our annual luncheon to address immediate needs within the county,” Farris said. “In addition we will seek donations that will enable us to accept this generous matching grant from First United Bank and other private donors.”

        Empty Bowls has maintained a ‘pass-through’ fund with YCF since 2008 in which money raised by the organization goes directly to hunger relief programs. The endowment fund was established to provide a vehicle for additional donations “as well as to open up new donors who wish to support our mission,” Farris said.

        Money contributed to the endowment fund is invested to increase its value, with net income used to make the yearly grants, Fuller said. “This endowment fund will help Empty Bowls continue to feed people year after year as an extension of the annual event,” she said.

        Empty Bowls is an independently organized worldwide project established by the nonprofit group Imagine/Render to support organizations that combat hunger and promote awareness about local hunger issues. Since its beginning as a high school arts project in Michigan in 1990, Empty Bowls events have raised millions of dollars toward ending hunger.

        “The basic premise of an Empty Bowls event is simple,” Farris said. “Guests are served soup in a handmade ceramic bowl in exchange for a cash donation to fight hunger. They are asked to keep their bowl as a reminder that someone’s bowl is always empty, and to remind them that they have helped to alleviate hunger in the past and can continue to do so in the future.”

        Since its first event in Morgantown in 2007, Empty Bowls has since raised more than $180,000 – and in 2013 $65,200 was distributed to 18 local food pantries and feeding programs.

YCF is a charitable, non-profit organization that encourages, develops and manages endowment funds and uses the net proceeds to support a long list of community programs and scholarships. The foundation manages assets and pledged assets of approximately $9 million and administers more than 150 separate funds.

        Information about YCF and a description of its endowment funds is available at www.ycfwv.org or by calling (304) 296-3433.

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