Umlauf Sculpture Garden Endowment Fund
Having Funding Down to a Fine Art
ACF HELPS UMLAUF SCULPTURE GARDEN OFFER AUSTIN A SOURCE FOR UNDERSTANDING THE ARTS
In 1985, celebrated sculptor Charles Umlauf and his wife, Angeline Allen Umlauf, donated their home and studio, along with several acres of property and 168 handcrafted works, to the city that had long embraced Umlauf's artistic vision. Soon after, a group of citizens, led by Austin arts advocate Roberta Crenshaw, began raising money in hopes of establishing the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum near Zilker Park.
Crenshaw and the Friends of Umlauf Sculpture Garden spent six long years successfully raising private funds throughout the community. Indeed, one of the museum's first large gifts, a $300,000 challenge grant from the Meadows Foundation, would allow for construction to begin. But, with major donors insisting funds be strictly monitored and a contract with the City of Austin requiring the museum have an endowment fund those on the museum's board were beginning to worry about logistics.
"That's when the Austin Community Foundation came to our rescue," says Nelie Plourde, Executive Director of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. "We were able to flow the entire Meadows Foundation grant into our construction fund with ACF, as well as start an endowment fund with them. It really made all the difference for us."
Today, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden Endowment Fund helps support the museum's education programs, including workshops, lectures, tours, and camps aimed at exposing more children and adults to the world of sculpture. In fact, several years ago, the museum began offering free admission to all public-school groups-something that wouldn't have been possible without the help of the endowment fund.
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum's $1.4 million endowment fund with ACF continues to grow (Plourde says the nonprofit was able to make a $35,000 increase to the fund on its 15th anniversary and hopes to make an even larger contribution on its 20th anniversary in 2011), and every donation the museum receives, from $5 to $1,000, is added to the fund.
Some years, the nonprofit withdraws from the interest the fund amasses, and other years the museum is able to return monies to the fund. But the overall goal, Plourde says, is to steadily grow, not deplete, the endowment fund.
"We'd love it if the fund could get large enough to handle the cost of all our operations," she says. "We've been very fortunate to have ACF handle the management of the fund. They really do their homework and know what they're doing, so that's already helped us grow it.
"One of the wonderful things about the ACF is that their board of directors includes people who are seriously involved in the arts in Austin, so they truly care about helping the museum. They provide security and consistency for us."