As stated in its "guidelines of operation," Wilderness Trace is to provide "resources for a broad range of existing and future charitable needs throughout Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties." Wilderness Trace is described in the guidelines as a component fund" of the Community Foundation of Louisville, which has $175 million in assets. Some of those assets will cover the administrative and staff expenses of Wilderness Trace, as well as provide advice and direction as the new foundation gets off the ground.
Wilderness Trace has board of directors
While it does not have its own staff, Wilderness Trace does have a board of directors, headed by Elwyn, who is director of communications for Boyle County schools; John B. Rodes, a Danville certified public accountant, vice chairman; H. Vincent Pennington, a Danville attorney; James Atkins, director of diversity at Centre College; Greg Caudill, president of Farmers National Bank; Thomas A. Christopher, a Danville CPA; Hugh Coomer, a Danville Realtor; Carol R. Conover, a Harrodsburg woman active in community charitable organizations; Jeannette Davis, a Danville businesswoman; Norman Hagley, a retired pastor; Charles H. Keiser, a Danville veterinarian; David Land, a tax service operator in Lancaster; Janie Pass, executive director of Heart of Kentucky United Way in Danville; Leonard W. Smith, an attorney from Lancaster; Nancibel Rogers, a community advocate in Danville; H.R. Saufley, a Stanford businessman; and Alan R. Turbyfill Jr., vice president of Kentucky Trust Co. in Danville.
While community residents can leave money to community organizations in wills or give annually to more than two dozen agencies through the Heart of Kentucky United Way, Elwyn said that there was no "structure locally that was specifically designed to give people a way, a mechanism through which they could do something permanently that would benefit the community."
The local chamber of commerce conducted a two-year study of the need for a community foundation and ultimately decided to link up with the foundation in Louisville.
"The foundation in Louisville has a 12-member paid staff, the resources and experience we were looking for and a wonderful track record of helping people help their communities," Elwyn said. "They send representatives to our board meetings and staff to help us between meetings. They are a remarkable resource.
"They also have agreed to a very important goal of ours, and that is to be a separate and distinct foundation, all on its own," he said.
From the Louisville foundation, founders of the Wilderness Foundation received support. They also found backing from the community for the venture.
"Everywhere we went, we were encouraged"
"Everywhere we went, we were encouraged," said Elwyn. "We were endorsed by our own Heart of Kentucky United Way and by Heart of Danville. And many people in the community said they welcomed the resources and mechanism of charitable giving that we were bringing to Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties."
So far, things have been going "very well" in the first few months of the foundation's life, Elwyn said.
"We are getting clients who are establishing trusts of various kinds, and we are going to press with our own printed materials," he said.
And the foundation already has begun meeting another goal, secondary to its chief purpose of providing community residents vehicles in which they can give back to their community, as well as providing tax advantages and incomes to themselves and their families.
"A major goal of ours is education," Elwyn said. "We want to educate those professionals involved in establishing trusts as well as their clients."
Toward that end, the foundation has set up its first seminar - a seminar on charitable gift annuities - and it will be for attorneys and certified public accountants, he said.
"This seminar will be the first in a series of such public programs where we will be telling the community about what we're all about and how to participate. And what we're about is charitable-giving, offering opportunities to citizens who want to serve their communities forever."