‘An honor to be involved:’ Longtime Springfield Foundation leader to retire in April

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The longtime executive director for a foundation in Springfield that has over $110 million in assets and provides millions annually in scholarships and local grants will retire at the end of April.

Ted Vander Roest has been with the Springfield Foundation since 2000 and has served as the organization’s executive director since 2007. Since holding that role, the foundations assets have grown from $17 million to around $112 million.

Vander Roest will retire on April 29 and leave his position as chair of SpringForward, a nonprofit that was formed in 2015 to help downtown Springfield redevelopment efforts.

Vander Roest said that he will be 65 in September and thought this year was a good time to retire. He said he does not have any fleshed out plans yet regarding what his post retirement will look like, but mentioned that he plans on taking a break.

“While it is bittersweet to leave the foundation, I truly have felt it has been an honor to be involved in the foundation’s work. The foundation is in great financial shape, the staff is wonderful, and we have a group of resolute trustees. I am confident the future of the foundation will be very bright,” he said.

The Springfield Foundation is working with a benefactor group out of Columbus to hire a new executive director and several interviews are being conducted. The goal is to find a replacement before Vander Roest’s retirement date.

Vander Roest said that he will be around to offer guidance and aid in the transition.

Mike McDorman, the president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Partnership, said Vander Roest will be missed noting the considerable growth of the foundations assets as well as its key role in local revitalization efforts during the latter’s tenure.

McDorman attributed the growth of the foundation to Vander Roest who first started with the organization as a financial officer and that ability with finances combined with smart investments has helped cause the foundations assets to grow to over $110 million.

The foundation manages endowments as well as the investment of that money and dispenses it in the community through grant allocations to small local nonprofits as well as scholarships to local students.

“This growth in assets has allowed the (Springfield Foundation) to have much broader reach in the community in terms of its impact with numerous projects, nonprofit entities and scholarships for individuals,” said Daren Cotter, the CFO of the Turner Foundation, a charitable organization that operates in Clark County.

The Springfield Foundation was formed in 1948 and has since grown its total assets to around $112 million. Vander Roest said that they on average award $4 million to $5 million each year. That also includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in local scholarships.

The foundation manages around 500 endowments, in which around 130 have been set up specifically for scholarships. Around $800,000 worth of scholarships are set to be awarded this year and that number has continued to grow each year, said Vander Roest.

He added that the foundation usually gets 280 to 300 scholarship applicants each year and about half end up receiving those awards.

The Springfield Foundation has also been involved in redevelopment efforts in the Springfield area. Vander Roest’s replacement will be involved in looking at ways to aid in the process of improving housing and living conditions particularly in the southside of Springfield.

That includes working with local nonprofits in the area via helping through funding or seeing what role the foundation can play as the city of Springfield plans to allocate millions of American Rescue Plan funds to tackling the city’s housing crisis.

McDorman said that under Vander Roest leadership, the foundation has had a huge impact in terms of redevelopment plans related to the Springfield area.

In terms of SpringForward, the nonprofit is in the process of finding a replacement for Vander Roest.

The foundation along with multiple organizations as well as governmental agencies partnered up in 2015 to create the nonprofit.

SpringFoward has been involved in major projects in downtown Springfield such as the townhome project on Center Street, the conversion of the former Myers Market building into CoHatch, the attraction of several businesses in the North Fountain Avenue Corridor as well as projects related to the State Theater and the Wren building.

“It has been rewarding to see the results of the Foundation being involved in projects such as the Promise Neighborhood and SpringForward. When we first became involved in SpringForward I had hopes that we would make a positive impact to help revitalize our downtown. The results of SpringForward have far surpassed my hopes,” Vander Roest said.

“The Market at Co-Hatch is thriving, there are downtown condominiums that are proving to be very much in demand, and there is a group revitalizing the State Theater just to name a few,” he added.

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