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Different Focus but the Same Goal

April 29, 2020
Categories: Our Community | Giving Back

The Benevolent Fund and Office of Philanthropy EXPLAINED!

The Panorama Benevolent Fund and Panorama’s Office of Philanthropy often receive questions about how to distinguish between the two organizations, and sometimes it’s not understood these are separate entities. The Benevolent Fund’s President, Phyllis Freitas and Panorama’s Director of Philanthropy, Meghan Vu, have co-authored this Q&A to help you learn about both organizations and navigate the differences. In writing this, we hope to dispel some of the confusion between the two and provide some clarity.

The Benevolent Fund and Panorama’s Office of Philanthropy work collaboratively with the same goal in mind, but they are separate organizations with differences.

Why is there an Office of Philanthropy and the Benevolent Fund, and why are they separate organizations?

The best way to answer this question is to look back at our history. Like any good story, it starts long ago, on a cold winter day. A resident noticed a neighbor wearing a flimsy, lightweight coat that provided little protection from the chill of winter. So the resident contacted some friends and together they bought a new coat for their neighbor. And thus, the idea of the Panorama Benevolent Fund was born. Whether this charming story is true or not, it should not be tossed away as a possible myth. The story depicts a truth. It depicts the heart of the Panorama Benevolent Fund, neighbor helping neighbor. The Panorama Benevolent Fund was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) on August 16, 1972.  Over the past 48 years, the mission of the Fund remains resident focused and volunteer driven.

After several years of conversation, in 1999, a new 501(c)(3) named the Panorama Foundation was established to raise funds from resident contributions for future amenities not paid for by the corporation. The initial objective of the Foundation was to build an activity complex composed of an aquatic and fitness center, an auditorium, and rooms that would accommodate resident activities. After the dedication of the Panorama Auditorium in 2009, the Foundation Board of Directors and the Panorama Board of Directors decided to merge the Foundation with Panorama and in 2010, the Panorama Foundation became a Panorama Department. Later, in 2016 the name of the foundation department changed to the Office of Philanthropy. 

What is the mission of the Benevolent Fund and the Office of Philanthropy, and who benefits?

The objective of both the Benevolent Fund and Office of Philanthropy is to support Panorama residents in achieving the best possible life throughout aging. Both funds directly benefit Panorama residents but the applications of donated funds are different.

The Panorama Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to residents in need, and funds services and quality of life projects to help all residents’ transition smoothly through the various phases of aging. It was clear from those early days in 1972 that any fund to which residents contributed directly, residents should be the sole beneficiaries and direct the fund as well.

The Office of Philanthropy is the department of Panorama that accepts charitable gifts to support the mission of Panorama – “helping each other achieve the best possible life.” The primary function of the Office of Philanthropy is to accept donations and use these funds to enrich lives throughout the continuum of care. A secondary function of the Office of Philanthropy is to coordinate Panorama’s giving and involvement with the community beyond our backyard; however, donations to Panorama through the Office of Philanthropy are not used for this purpose.

What are the programs and services supported by the Benevolent Fund and the Office of Philanthropy?

Most of the Benevolent Fund’s support can be considered long-term, although some programs are more project oriented. The three major programs provided include:

  • Grants to residents in need of financial support.
  • SARA alert pendants for all independent residents to use to receive emergency attention
  • Three experienced Social Service Advisors who offer help and support with the challenges of aging.

The Fund also supports educational presentations (such as 2019’s Dementia Forum and Executor Session). As part of its mission to fund quality of life projects, the Benevolent Fund has previously funded furniture and equipment for the Chapel, installed automatic doors in the three apartment buildings, and provided necessary equipment for the TV studio,  Computer Learning Center, and Panorama Auditorium.

The Benevolent Fund’s many volunteers are passionate about helping fellow residents meet the challenges of transitioning through the various phases of aging. The residents can count on the Fund to be a safety net.

Donations to Panorama through the Office of Philanthropy are used to enrich lives throughout the continuum of care. Whether it be an Independent Living resident attending entertainment and education programs at the Auditorium; a C&R or Assisted Living resident receiving massage, music or garden therapy; or a staff member who receives a scholarship to advance their education, we all benefit. 

What are the income sources for both organizations?

The Benevolent Fund’s main source of income comes from residents’ generous gifts of financial donations and volunteer time. These include pledges, recognitions and memorials, the Annual Fund Drive, the annual Silent Auction, bequests, vehicle donations, and Fred Meyer and Amazon Smile accounts. With the dedicated work of volunteers three days a week, all year long, the Benevolent Fund receives substantial financial support from the sales at Encore Furniture & Books, the Stiles-Beach Barn, Santa’s Shop and the annual two-day Patio Sale. The Fund also receives income earned from investments and contributions from the Panorama Corporation.

The Benevolent Fund’s logo is a tree. The Benevolent Fund tree, planted in 1972, has had years of wise stewardship, helping extend its roots deeper and deeper into the ground with each passing year. Today, with worldwide economic instability, the Benevolent Fund, while blown about, withstands the stormy winds. Residents can trust the Fund they so generously support.

The Office of Philanthropy’s income comes entirely from charitable donations – through annual gifts, legacy gifts and income earned from investments. The majority of donations are from residents, with a small percentage from family and friends of residents and Panorama’s staff. Additionally, 100% of Panorama’s Board of Directors donate to Panorama through the Office of Philanthropy annually. All operational costs of the Office of Philanthropy are included within Panorama’s operating budget. That means 100% of donations fund programs. 

Are the Benevolent Fund and Office of Philanthropy in competition for my donations?

The Benevolent Fund and Office of Philanthropy add greatly to the culture at Panorama and co-exist, working side-by-side for the betterment of Panorama. We work collaboratively to make sure needs are met. We understand that giving is deeply personal and encourage all residents to give to the causes that fill their hearts. We also understand people give to multiple charitable endeavors and many Panorama residents support both the Benevolent Fund and Office of Philanthropy with their charitable gifts.

Add to this our beloved Panorama Library Association, which is also a not-for-profit organization run exclusively by Panorama residents. We have three entities that accept charitable gifts and work together to make Panorama the best place to live. Because of you, each of these important organizations exist and contribute to our giving culture at Panorama. Thank you!

Meghan Vu, Office of Philanthropy Director

Phyllis Freitas, Benevolent Fund President

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