The Polk County and Bolivar Charitable Trust established by the late David Delarue, a former Bolivar resident who lived in San Fransisco at the time, has distributed more than $5.5 million to Polk County governing bodies and agencies during the first quarter century of the fund’s existence.
Established in 1986, the first interest distributions from the fund were made in 1988. Based on an 8-percent return on the money, annual distributions would total $240,000. Distributions have been close to averaging that amount, with the $5.5 million distribution being a little more than $200,000 below the estimated $5.7 million for the first 24 years of distribution.
See the graphic to see how often and when the annual distribution was above or below that amount. Delarue’s parents owned Delarue’s Department Store on the south side of the square, where the Village Boutique and Munchkins Outfitters are now.
He was a financial analyst in San Francisco for many years before retiring not long after he set up the trust. In a message to all Polk Countians in the Dec. 10, 1986, BH-FP, Delarue explains why he established the trust:
“It gives me real pleasure to be in a position to do this for an area where my basic foundation of life’s values and character were nurtured and to contribute to Bolivar and the county which have suffered the last years through lost factory jobs and farming problems, events which have left the economy — and many individuals — to endure the consequences.”
“May I end this on a personal note? I basically believe we’re here for an instant in eternity. If I have used my instant to help as many as possible through this Trust — I will feel I’ve used that instant well.”
Delarue kept up through friends with how the money was being spent, and he made a personal visit in 2001 to tour some of the entities and see the benefits the money had brought. He had hoped to return in 2002 to deliver the checks in person to the various entities, but that was not to be. He died in California Feb. 26, 2002, when a drunken driver smashed into his car.
So how has the money been spent through the years? The accompanying stories tell how much each entity has received and, at least in recent years, how the many has been spent.
Polk County Commission (50 percent of the county’s share): $1.09 million
Trust funds given to the Polk County commission were deposited into the General Revenue fund until 2002 when an auditor recommending tracking those funds separately, according to County Clerk Melinda Robertson.
Since 2002, county expenditures from the fund include courthouse renovations, Polk County Library building fund, courthouse lawn gazebo, Polk County Genealogical Society, YMCA building fund, Polk County Historical Society, fairground renovations, Drug Court, economic development (through Bolivar Chamber), Bolivar Community Watershed, 100th birthday celebration, Bolivar Rotary Club, city of Humansville, and the Enhanced Enterprise Zone application process.
Polk County Health Center (10 percent of the county’s share): $219,266
For the past four years, the Health Center has used the funds to support the free medical clinic for the uninsured. Other uses in the past have included support of the Kindness is Contagious Campaign, purchasing items for the skate park and equipment at Dunnegan Memorial Park and for the walking trail at Fullerton Park baseball fields.
“There were a couple of years when I first started that we used the funds to help pay for dental care for uninsured adults in our community,” said administrator Michelle Morris. “A couple of years I remember that we did not have a specific project that needed funds and we saved the funds to help pay for some equipment for our exam rooms, specifically the exam tables and chairs. We typically do not put the funds in the general fund, but try to identify a specific project that helps promote programs and services for those things that do not have specific funding sources.”
Polk County Division of Family Services (10 percent of the county’s share): $219,266
Debbie Burns, county manager for the Polk County Division of Family Services, said the funds are distributed on a case-by-case basis to help Polk Countians who are in need of assistance for items such as utility payments, prescription assistance and transportation assistance, as well as supporting community projects.
Though the paperwork involved does require some extra work by the staff, Burns said the Polk County office is fortunate to be able to provide some emergency assistance.
“It’s something that most offices don’t have,” she said.
Polk County OACAC Community Center (10 percent of the county’s share): $219,266
OACAC uses the money to help Polk County residents with various expenses, including rent and mortgage payments, utility payments, transportation expenses, emergency medical care, legal fees, disaster relief and the annual Back-to-School Readiness Fair.
University of Missouri Extension in Polk County (10 percent of the county’s share): $219,266
The Polk County Extension Council uses the trust funds for salaries of offi ce employees, to fund office operations and to support educational programs.
Polk County Fire, Rescue and Training Association (10 percent of the county’s share): $219,266
Trust funds are the association’s main source of revenue, according to Ken Witt, president of the association. In 1990, trust funds were used for installation of a countywide communications system. Other funds have been used mainly for training of firefighters through fire school and local classes.
City of Bolivar for Police, Fire, Water and Sewer (60 percent of the city’s share): $657,821
These funds are placed in the city’s General Revenue fund and then apportioned out to each of the four city departments using a percentage allocation, according to City Clerk Kimberly Strader.
“It’s very nice to have some additional revenue,” she said.
City of Bolivar for Public Recreation Program (15 percent of the city’s share): $160,975
The money is placed into the revenue pool that pays for all expenses for parks and recreation, Strader said.
Citizens Memorial Hospital (15 percent of the city’s share): $160,975
Citizens Memorial Hospital did not respond to a request for information about how the money has been spent.
Physically handicapped programs (10 percent of the city’s share): $102,777
This portion originally was planned to be split between two entities: Enterprises Unlimited (the county’s sheltered workshop) and Developmental Center of the Ozarks. Th e Developmental Center, however, did not qualify as a beneficiary during the fiest two years, so the money was given to the city of Bolivar. After that, the full amount was given to Enterprises Unlimited. During the first few distributions of the fund, Enterprises Unlimited used its proceeds to purchase new equipment and to help build a new building.
In recent years, expenditure of the money has varied, according to Paul Long, president of the Enterprises Unlimited board.
“In the early years we used it to buy some vehicles, but the last years it was used to support the general fund,” he said.
The EU board has continued receiving the funds, even though it no longer operates a sheltered workshop in Polk County since the board sold its assets to Springfield Workshop, which now operate Polk County Industrial Solutions.
The EU board is working on setting up an endowment that would include trust money that could be used to purchase a building for the existing workshop somewhere in Polk County.
“This year’s money was used to help pay the cost for all our buildings to be wireless. Patrons of the district may use our wireless anytime.”
Half Way R-3 Schools: $184,000*
Dr. Tim Boatwright, superintendent, said that in recent years, the funds were placed in the capitol improvements fund until last year. Now that the building project is complete, the funds are placed in the operating fund. “Th e district has not tracked specific projects the funds were used for, but we really appreciate these funds being sent to our school,” he said.
Humansville R-4 Schools: $188,000*
Student-related activities are funded by the money being placed into the Fund 1 account and designated as the general account for Student Activities, superintendent Ryan Nowlin said.
Such activities include paying entry fees for students co-curricular activities (not sporting contests), co-curricular contest registrations, co-curricular fi eld trips, fees associated with cocurricular contests in which students who couldn’t otherwise aff ord to attend could go, etc.
“To my knowledge (as well as my bookkeeper’s), these funds have not been spent on anything that has not been tied directly to and for students,” Nowlin said. “We have spent much more than we have been given from the Delarue Trust on the above-mentioned student activities because it is in the best interest of kids. We are definitely grateful for any funds the Trust has given us in the past and what is possibly to come in the future. Every little bit helps, and we are so appreciative.”
Marion C. Early R-5 Schools: $284,000*
Superintendent Eric Kurre said the money has been used to purchase educational equipment for the district.
“We feel it is important to use monies such as this on tangible items that can be used to improve the education of our students over an extended period of time,” he said.
Pleasant Hope R-6 Schools: $349,000*
Scott Ireland, superintendent of Pleasant Hope R-6 Schools, said some of the Delarue revenue has been deposited into Other Local (Fund 4). A CD the district still has was purchased with some of the proceeds and some was spent on the football field project.
*These amounts are estimates. Exact figures for school district distributions were not available for some years, so these amounts were calculated based on the amount of 40 percent of the full distribution then divided according to school district enrollments for that year.
While the calculated amounts are close, there is a small margin of error on the exact amounts, as these total $47,000 more than the 40 percent share the county has received, but we know the total amount distributed to the schools is the same as has been distributed to the county.