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A new endowment fund has been established to support the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County's operating budget.

United Way board President Heidi Nauleau announced at the agency's annual meeting Thursday that the Gebbie Foundation will provide $750,000 toward the fund.

"This will come over a period of five years, and the idea is we will grow what essentially is an endowment to $2 million," she said. "We are grateful to the Gebbie Foundation for this gift. It reflects their trust in the efficiency of our organization."

Nauleau said the plan is to endow all administrative costs so that in the future all campaign dollars will go directly into social service programs.

Nauleau said operating expenses total 11 percent of what is raised during the local campaign.

"When we have this endowment in place and we are able to use the interest income from it, all those costs will be covered by that interest income, so all the dollars we raise will go back to the community," she said.

Nauleau said the United Way first approached the Gebbie Foundation about 18 months ago with the idea, "and they were receptive to it."

Nauleau and her husband, Bernard, will contribute $25,000 to the efforts.

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