In 1929, a young woman by the name of Elizabeth Sage Hare dreamed of a school built on traditions, excellence, and a progressive commitment to academic advancement. This school would not only thrive in the cultural setting of the West, but more importantly it would shape the academic curriculum for youth in preparing them for college.
In 1930, with the help of Colorado Springs entrepreneurs such as Spencer Penrose, the boarding school for boys opened. It wasn’t until 1975 that the school became coeducational. Today, the school serves 240 students from 24 states and 21 countries. It remains a boarding and day school focused on providing a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum in academics, athletics and the arts.
The Wicks and the Sintons valued the attention to such commitment to education. Starting in the 1980s, they found their commitment to supporting the institution and a lifetime of academic excellence through annual gifts. Furthermore, they also supported the institution with their involvement in the Casa Serena Society.
No matter the size, annual giving is a heartfelt way to support to an organization. Similar to a business earning a profit to further deliver products and services for their customers, nonprofits relay on individual donors and grants from foundations to keep the lights on and services plenty for those in need.
To the Sinton family, philanthropy means supporting those who don’t have the means to support themselves. The James J. Sinton Memorial Scholarship Fund does precisely that by helping Business Administration or Economics students obtain financial aid in their pursuit of a post-secondary education at Colorado College (CC). The Fund was initially endowed to CC in 1971 on behalf of Tom Sinton, husband to Bee Sinton, our founder. Both Tom and Bee graduated from CC and thus wanted to give back to their alma mater. Tom also wanted to way to honor and remember his father James Sinton.
With a beginning balance of $163,000, today the Fund has grown to over $1.4 million and has supported 85 students over the years, typically awarding two to four scholarships per year. With the help of investment managers, the Fund will continue to support a student’s dream of becoming the first in their family to graduate with a college degree.
Endowments have become a way for individuals or families to pass on their wealth to a nonprofit organization of their choice. They are structured such that the initial principal amount is left intact or untouched and the investment interest can be drawn upon to fulfill the desire of the donor. Most commonly, institutions that manage endowments include museums, libraries, theaters, hospitals, and universities.
Endowments, to many, are a way to leave behind a legacy all-encompassing of individual and family values, tradition, and a greater life meaning. To Tom, it was a way to support education, a valued tradition in the family. Bee continues this legacy through her vision of Moniker Foundation and our own Scholarship Program.
Education is a value embedded deep in the roots of our family’s history. Even prior to the formation of The Moniker Foundation, education was a value and focus passed on from one generation to the next. It is no surprise that our founder’s grandfather, Frank England, supported educational organizations such as the then Glenwood School for Boys, today known as the Glenwood Academy.
The Glenwood Academy had a rich history in shaping the educational culture that existed in Chicago in the late 1800s. From its early inception in 1877, the founders witnessed an extreme need to help boys who had found themselves in unfortunate situations with the law or their guardianship.
Rather than learning solely from a book or standard classroom materials, the school focused on education through skill development and leadership. The founding vision for Glenwood was to turn “child-saving” into “person-building” by transforming dependent children into self-sufficient adults who lived productive lives. The concept of the school was to provide a home and a proper training school for these dependent boys.
Glenwood Academy today upholds its founding vision and values. It remains the only boarding school in Illinois; providing children with a variety of ways to discover their talents and interests outside the classroom.
The Moniker Foundation upholds a similar vision in regards to our Scholarship Program. Not only do we want to financially assist our Scholars, but furthermore, and more importantly, we hope to instill the values and importance of community stewardship and work experience. We do this by asking our Scholars to complete community service projects as well as evaluate their time spent at school. Learn more about the Program by visiting our Scholarship Program page.
In 1998, The Moniker Foundation was created as a way to simply give back to the community through supporting worthy organizations and post-secondary students. At this time Moniker was doing, if we were to place a label on it, “checkbook philanthropy.” “Checkbook philanthropy,” while sometimes viewed with a negative connotation, is spontaneous philanthropy – a response to an appeal for funding combined with personal values of what one deems to be a worthy cause.
Over the past 17 years, with specific attention to the last three years, Moniker has modified its philanthropic role in serving the community. In our hope to be more intentional, Moniker has made the shift towards “responsive philanthropy.” “Responsive philanthropy” is just that, responsive. Donors and foundations respond to formal requests, typically in a designated focus area. Our focus areas are two-fold - education and/or human services.
Moniker’s Structured Giving Program is an ideal representation of “responsive philanthropy,” in that organizations fill out a formal request and these requests are reviewed through a formal grant committee. This year has been the most rewarding year yet in terms of the diversity and location of the requests. As we finalize our review for our 2014-2015 grant recipients, we celebrate 26 requests from 7 different Colorado counties. Out of 64 counties, it may not seem like that much of an expanse, but for our family foundation, for the first time, we get to be more strategic in our grant making.
Yet, still being family oriented keeps an interesting dynamic at the table. We still value “checkbook philanthropy” as it provides a way for family members to explore the world of giving back through their own passions and values. Our Family Giving Grants Program supports the other side of the pendulum. Family members have the opportunity to act as the community chest for organizations that need resources more immediately. They also share a piece in the big picture, 30,000 foot view, of Moniker – further cultivating generational interest in the perpetuity of our family foundation.
So, while we have picked up the new world of giving back, we still remain tied to our roots. Our hope is to balance “checkbook philanthropy” with “responsive philanthropy” in an attempt to keep our family foundation flexible yet intentional.
Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, opened up doors of opportunity through culture and education. Leading the way was her grandfather, Frank England, and father, Russell Wicks, both employees of the world-renowned metal cutting tools company, Illinois Tools Works (ITW).
Bee grew up learning the value of hard work, success, and the unspoken meaning of philanthropy by watching the warm-hearted actions of her father and grandfather.
"Philanthropy wasn't something you talked about or something you did to get recognition, you did it because it felt good," attests Bee. "I saw first-hand the lives that were touched from their involvement in organizations like the Glenwood School For Boys, which demonstrated an interest in helping boys who were caught in unfortunate circumstances."
"As I grew up, and before I had the means to give money to organizations, I volunteered my time. One I remember was the army wives' club, which helped raise money for families stationed in Puerto Rico, where Tom, my husband, was stationed for a number of years."
Once settled in Colorado Springs, Bee wanted to do more. Founded in 1998, The Moniker Foundation was a way to reduce taxes and preserve the family inheritance initially acquired from the boom of ITW. "Before Moniker, we (Tom and I) had set up two bequests, one to Colorado College known as the James Sinton Scholarship Fund, and one that was gifted to the Fountain Valley School."
"The truth of it is I wanted to minimize taxes, especially after seeing my mother's estate reduced by the IRS. But beyond that, I wanted to find a way to focus on education. Education is the starting point for everything."
And thus, Moniker honed in on scholarships, built on Bee's notion that everyone should have the chance to attend college even if they can't afford it or if they don't have the best academic marks.
"Moniker has grown a lot of over the past few years and I could not be more excited to see it continue to grow and include more family members. What was once a way to reduce taxes has now become a way to preserve our family history while serving our community."