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26 October 2016

Endowment Honors

by Chris Pattillo 

In October of 2016, the board of the California Genealogy Society (CGS) approved a recommendation to rename our endowment fund as the Sherman-Haughton Fund. There are numerous reasons for doing so, but the most important one is that the board wanted to honor and recognize the significant contributions – both financial and in-service – that Frederick “Rick” Sherman and Ken Haughton have made to our society.

Rick Sherman
Frederick S. Sherman, Ph.D.
Known to everyone as “Rick” joined CGS in 1980 and from that time until his death he filled many vital roles in the society.

His first position was as Library Chairman. Then he served for ten years as Research Director, and volunteered as a member of our heroic Desk Duty team. He also participated in in a key strategic planning effort shortly before his death.

Rick was a willing speaker and enjoyed helping others with their research. He even made trips to Salt Lake City 
on behalf of members to find clues about their ancestors. Rick served as President of our society from 1994-1996.

In a 2008 Blog post honoring Rick, member June Nash Lindquist had this to say about Rick, “We all value Rick's sage advice, and cheerful and generous spirit. Rick is so knowledgeable on so many directions of research. We always appreciate his witty and wise conclusions to very knotty problems."

Generous in many ways
Rick and his wife Pat were exceedingly generous in many ways. Over the years they made regular financial contributions to help fund important projects. In 1983, their donations covered the cost of purchasing Bibliofile – at the time a new software program that was used to catalogue the library’s holdings. 

In 1996, a sizeable contribution from Rick and Pat helped to underwrite a 600 square foot expansion of the library when it was located on Brannan Street in San Francisco. As recognition of their gift, a new reading room was named in their honor. Also, when the library moved to its current location, Rick and Pat paid for the new shelving.   

But of all of Rick’s many contributions, the one that will no doubt have the most lasting impact is the endowment that he started in 1992. Rick initially donated $6000 to start the endowment and he contributed more funds each year through 2001. In total, Rick and Pat gave over $490,000 towards our endowment – in addition to their other financial gifts.  These gifts are a huge reason for our continued societal success.

Ken Haughton
Ken Haughton
Our other benefactor joined the society in 1978. Early on Ken served on the board and for many years served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He also participated in one of the society’s strategic planning efforts. 

Ken is a very knowledgeable family history researcher. He is particularly knowledgeable about how DNA can be used as a tool for genealogists and has even spoken about it for the society. He also has written several family histories and articles.

Ken and his wife Beverly joined Rick in 1997 by making a sizeable donation. They have continued to make very generous contributions every year ever since. As CFO, Ken set up our endowment and invested it in a small number of prudent mutual funds. Over the years Ken managed these funds and by December 31, 2009 our endowment balance was over $794,000. (This includes a building fund that was started by CGS past president, David Adams.)

As someone who knows Ken well, Jane Knowles Lindsey said, “Ken and I have known one another since our days in the 1990’s as Trustees of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. While I served as CGS president, I frequently called on Ken to lend his expertise in so many areas that helped strengthen CGS.”

A wonderful financial teacher
It was at about this time that Jim Sorenson and I were both appointed to the Investment Committee and Ken taught us how he had been managing the society’s money. I was honored to work with Ken who reassured me that by investing responsibly our assets would continue to grow. Ken must have felt comfortable with us because in 2010 he stepped down as chair of the Investment Committee and I filled the vacancy. Since that time, Jim and I, and now Tom Jones, have continued to oversee and manage the endowment in the same manner that Ken did for thirteen years. Ken has always generously answered my questions and now serves as a sounding board as we continue to make minor adjustments to our investment portfolio. Today, the value of our combined funds is over $1.3 million dollars.

Securing the future
The purpose of creating the endowment was to provide long-term security for the society and to cover unforeseen expenses, should they arise.  Over the years the cost to support the society has grown significantly. As part of our 120th anniversary we have a plan to grow the endowment by $1.2 million. It is a lofty goal, but one we feel is well worth pursuing. The increased endowment will help ensure that CGS will be able to continue to help our members discover their past for the next 120 years.

In recognition of the many contributions to CGS by Rick Sherman and Ken Haughton, we are pleased to announce that the endowment will now be known as the Sherman-Haughton Fund.

Help us continue the tradition of supporting genealogy research, events and library through our endowment.  Please contact Jane Lindsey or myself to discuss how you can be a part of this historic fundraising effort.  Thank you.

Photos provided by Jane Knowles Lindsey

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society