Each year the Spirit of Eden Fund solicits Letters of Intent from organizations seeking financial assistance. Applicants may be public or private corporations described in Section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code; governmental entities; or special purpose districts that are tax supported.
The financial assistance should improve the quality of life in Eden and the surrounding area.
In 1985, the City of Eden entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to house federal inmates. To house and manage the inmates, the City entered into an agreement with Roy Burns who built and managed the detention center. In 1995, Mr. Burns sold the detention center to the Eden Correctional Facilities Corporation (ECFC), a non-profit corporation chartered by the Texas Secretary of State. Its purpose was to issue bonds for purchase the facilities and be responsible for the indebtedness. The City leased the facilities from ECFC, who in turn, used the lease payment to make the bond payments. The City hired the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to manage the center.
In 1999, CCA approached ECFC with an offer to purchase the detention center. After some negotiations, a purchase price was agreed to, and ECFC sold the facilities. The price was more than that required to pay the indebtedness, resulting in a profit for ECFC. To utilize the profit for the long-term benefits of the community, ECFC established a second non-profit corporation chartered by the Texas Secretary of State. This second corporation would be allow to grant moneys to other public and private corporations and organizations described in Section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code and governmental, tax supported agencies. In 2001, this corporation, the Spirit of Eden Fund, became a reality. ECFC conveyed its assets from the sale of the facilities to Spirit of Eden Fund. ECFC was dissolved.
A five-member board of directors manages the Spirit of Eden Fund without pay. The trust department of an out of town bank manages the funds. The objective of the directors is to improve the quality of life in Eden and the surrounding area by maintaining and conservatively growing the assets for perpetuity.
To meet Federal requirements, the Spirit of Eden Fund must give an average of $155,000 each year to eligible recipients. Ninety six percent (96%) of the corporation's annual, local expenditures go to grants. Four percent (4%) is used for Federal taxes, accountant fees, insurance, and office supplies. The bank charges an annual management fee of approximately 0.5% of the value of the assets.