Millennium Fund

In 1999 the Community Foundation launched a unique way to mark the turn of the 21st century and the 22nd.  Donors to the Millennium Fund were asked to make a minimum gift of $100 as an investment in the future of Southern Wisconsin.  In turn, the Fund’s assets and earnings were not to be touched for 100 years.  The expectation was that each $100 gift would grow to $1 million by the year 2100, assuming a 10 percent annual return.

Nearly $12,000 was collected for the Millennium Fund before it was sealed in 2000.  On January 1, 2100, the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors will open the fund and distribute the assets to Southern Wisconsin communities  for programs in the arts, education, health and human services, historic preservation and the environment.

The Millennium Fund idea is taken from the example of Benjamin Franklin who, in 1791, gave the citizens of Boston a $5,000 gift with the stipulation that it not be spent for 100 years.  In 1891 a portion of Franklin’s gift was spent, but the remainder was left to compound for another 100 years.  By 1991, the gift had grown to more than $5 million.