(MURFREESBORO) The Murfreesboro City Council voted Thursday (2/8/2024) to approve the Community Investment Trust funding of qualified charitable organizations in FY25. $364,950, the amount available for distribution under the Trust agreement in FY25, will be distributed to twenty-nine (29) charitable organizations.
Council approval follows approval by the Community Investment Trust (CIT) Board of Trustees Jan. 24, based on recommend funding approval from the Committee on Contributions Jan. 23. The Trust Agreement stipulates the Committee make recommendations to the Board by Feb. 15th each year. The Committee engaged in a 3-month process to review and approve the funding distribution after the application period closed on Oct. 31, 2023.
“It’s very exciting to see the benefits of our decision to sell the City’s electric utility and the hard work to develop a Community Investment Trust coming to fruition,” said Mayor Shane McFarland. “On behalf of the City Council I want to thank the members of the Board of Trustees and Committee on Contributions for their dedication to this effort benefiting our community.”
“It was an honor to serve on the Committee on Contributions,” said Chair Carl D. Montgomery, “Using a highly objective grant funding process of scoring and reviewing charitable agencies and their projects, we funded 66 percent of the applicants. As the Trust funding increases over the years, we look forward to funding an even greater number of non-profits in our community.”
After receiving applications for review by Oct. 31, 2023, totaling $1.257 million in requested funding, the individual members of the Committee on Contributions carefully reviewed and scored each applicant utilizing Foundant Technologies, a cloud-based grant funding software package. The Council-approved funding for qualified charitable beneficiaries, including youth, seniors, housing, health and education services, is available on the City of Murfreesboro website https://www.murfreesborotn.gov/2562/Community-Grant-Application
Each fiscal year, an Annual Distribution of five (5) percent of the value of the Trust, less fees and expenses, is to be distributed by the Board of Trustees. The Board is authorized to distribute fifteen (15) percent of the Annual Distribution as Charitable Contributions to Qualified Beneficiaries. In FY24-25, the Trust’s assets for charitable distributions totaled $364,950.
The Trust Agreement stipulates limits on funding recommendations to not be more than a maximum of 25% of available fund to any single Qualified Beneficiary. Specific types of charitable causes are also restricted by allocation as follows:
- Education and Youth Services not more than 20% of available funds ($72,880)
- Community Safety and Victim Services not more than 15% ($54,743)
- Health-related Services not more than 10% ($36,495)
On Sept 26, 2023, the Murfreesboro Committee on Contributions of the Murfreesboro Community Investment Trust invited eligible charitable applicants to submit requests by Oct. 31, 2023,for charitable grant funding in FY24-25, utilizing the grant-making application process https://www.murfreesborotn.gov/CommunityGrantApplication Activities requesting funding must take place between July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025.
Applications were reviewed and scored by Committee members with experience in charitable and civic activities. Recommendations for funding were then provided to the Community Investment Trust (CIT) Board of Trustees for review and approval. Guidelines, including eligibility, use of funds and ineligible expenses were also made available.
The Murfreesboro Community Investment Trust was established in 2021 from the proceeds of the sale of the City-owned utility, Murfreesboro Electric Department, to Middle Tennessee Electric Cooperative. The purposes of the Trust are set forth in the Trust Agreement as follows:
- To support projects and programs of the City or other nonprofit institutions that benefit the City’s inhabitants and improve or enhance the quality of life of the City’s inhabitants or aid civic or other public improvements;
- To promote and advance the social welfare of the inhabitants of the City;
- To promote and support educational and recreational programs, facilities, and opportunities within the City;
- To fund public works within or benefiting the City; and
- To advance the general welfare of the City and its residents
Members of the Committee on Contributions are as follows: Carl D. Montgomery, chair, John A. Hinkle, Jr., Lynn Lien, Lyle Lynch, Wade Hays, Ronnie Martin, Collier Andress Smith.
The City Council, under the authority of an amended City Charter, created the Committee on Contributions approving Ordinance 23-O-06 on Feb. 2, 2023, within the Community Investment Trust structure. The Board of Trustees has authority under the City Charter for managing the proceeds received from the sale of the City’s electric distribution system in the “best long-term interests of citizens.”
Under the provisions of the Trust, the Committee on Contributions was established as the decision-making body for reviewing and recommending grant awards. The proceeds from the sale of the City’s electric utility have been used to establish the fund in which annual awards will be made to support eligible charitable activities that benefit Murfreesboro residents and the community.
The City sold its electric distribution system operations and assets to Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation (MTEMC) for $245 million with $43 million paid at closing and annual installments of $17,290,134 paid over a 15-year period with interest, totaling nearly $302.4 million.
City Council determined a portion of the initial $43 million payment, and the incremental payments will be retained by the City through 2029 to be allocated to the City’s general fund to critical roadway and parks projects.
City Council decided that proceeds from the sale of the Electric Department should provide long-term benefits to the City’s citizens through prudent investments over time. To create a Trust Agreement to manage non-tax revenue, the City requested the Tennessee General Assembly amend its private act charter to allow the City to create the Murfreesboro Community Investment Trust and Board of Trustees—seven individuals with appropriate financial investment experience to manage the proceeds in the “best long-term interests of citizens.”
The Community Investment Trust Board of Trustees conducted its initial meeting, Jan. 24, 2023, and continues to meet monthly. The Trust Agreement and City Council also created a separate Committee on Contributions. The City Council, under the authority of an amended City Charter, created the Committee on Contributions approving Ordinance 23-O-06 on Feb. 2, 2023, within the Community Investment Trust structure.
The Committee on Contributions of the Murfreesboro Community Investment Trust met for the first time on February 28, 2023, to begin the process of making recommendations on the Trust’s annual Charitable Contributions for charitable organizations to the Board of Trustees.
The City has traditionally funded charitable organizations through the general fund, but Council voted to give that role to the Board of Trustees based on recommendations from the Committee on Contributions. FY23-24 marked the final fiscal year that charitable organizations are funded through the General Fund Schedule. In FY24-25, funding requests from nonprofit organizations were directed to the new online application process through the Community Investment Trust based on recommendations from the Committee on Contributions.