Peoria Journal Star
September 21, 2006
Bielfeldt Foundation increases donations
$628,400 handed out to 41 groups in 2005
Thursday, September 21, 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C. - With its founders still entangled in
a lawsuit alleging mismanagement of funds, the Bielfeldt
Foundation contributed $628,400 to 41 central Illinois charities
in 2005, more than the $586,400 given out the year before,
according to its recent financial report.
It's still a far cry from the $1.2 million that the foundation
gave away to local charities as recently as 2002, before its
assets shrank dramatically under the Bielfeldt family's
Under new financial management, the foundation's assets grew to
$14 million in 2005 from $13.7 million in 2004.
Meanwhile, a 2004 civil lawsuit filed by the Illinois Attorney
General's Office against
foundation founders Gary and Carlotta Bielfeldt continues in
Cook County Circuit Court. Lawyers in the case met briefly before
a judge Wednesday to continue the discovery process, an exchange
of information and documents.
A representative from the Attorney General's Office indicated
that discussions about a potential settlement would be postponed
until after all the information has been shared. A status hearing
was set for Dec. 13.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the Bielfeldts in
December 2004, seeking recovery of more than $30 million of the
foundation's assets allegedly lost in risky investments and $9
million in fees and commissions paid by the foundation to Gary
Bielfeldt, his son, David, and their investment firm from 1996 to
Bielfeldt family members resigned from the foundation board in
2004. Gary Bielfeldt's wife, Carlotta, remains as executive
director, for which the foundation paid her an annual salary of
$84,900 last year. The foundation reported financial management
fees of $90,958 in 2005, with its largest account held with Smith
Barney, a division of CitiGroup Global Markets Inc.
Last year, the foundation's single largest contribution was
$400,000, which was the last installment of a $5 million pledge
for the Peoria Park District's RiverPlex.
This year, the foundation board plans to contribute $500,000 as
part of a $5 million, 10-year pledge to the planned Glen Oak Zoo
expansion, said Douglas Stewart, who was named the foundation's
president in 2004.
Stewart, regional president of National City Bank in Peoria,
said he is pleased with the results of the foundation's new
diversified investment strategy.
"We want to make sure the fund continues to grow and we can
easily service our commitment to the zoo, and then we will
continue to look at other opportunities in the community," Stewart
"I think the foundation itself is operating not only within its
bylaws but in a manner in which the Attorney General's Office
would like to see these foundations operate, and we hope that we
can continue to make additional commitments in years ahead."
The foundation also donated $75,000 to the YWCA. It was the
last installment of a five-year commitment for the YWCA's building
expansion project in Lakeview Park, Stewart said.
Another $20,000 went to the Methodist Medical Center Foundation
for nursing scholarships, part of a five-year pledge that ends in
2008, Stewart said.
The Heart of Illinois United Way received $20,000 as part of
its annual fundraising campaign. The Center for Prevention of
Abuse was given $15,000 as a one-time donation to its capital
campaign. Eureka College received $15,000 as part of a $75,000
multiyear pledge that ends in 2007, he said.
In addition, Lakeview Museum received $10,000 as part of a
four-year grant to pay for part of the planning for the new
Downtown regional museum. The last payment will be made this year,
Other large contributions included $12,000 for The Salvation
Army, $10,000 for the Alzheimer's Association and $5,000 for
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