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Recycling fund sets up

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — A new foundation that aims to clean up and resell contaminated real estate, and use the proceeds to make charitable grants, is ready to do business.

The Cherokee Property Foundation in Raleigh has secured its charitable status from the IRS and hired Lauren Stump, a former consultant in the Atlanta office of Bain & Co., as executive director.

Now, the foundation is looking for polluted properties.

Formed in 2001 by Tom Darden, managing partner of Cherokee Investment Partners, and Jim Anthony, CEO of AnthonyAllenton Commercial Real Estate, the foundation will focus on property worth less than $10 million, and even less for its initial projects

To find properties, Stump is developing relationships with real-estate professionals, environmental experts, financial planners, bankers and others who may know owners of contaminated property.

She also is developing a network of partners to help analyze, select and manage properties the foundation accepts.

Employees of Cherokee Partners, an equity fund that recycles polluted sites and is legally separate from the foundation, likely will donate their expertise to help the foundation evaluate and manage sites, she says.

After assessing properties that donors want to contribute, the foundation  will accept sites only if it expects the sale value will exceed the cleanup cost.

If the foundation accepts a site, the donor would get it appraised and deed it to the foundation, which would indemnify the donor, typically by insuring the donor against future liability.

Teaming up with service providers to clean up the property, the foundation would help manage it, oversee cleanups and then sell sites.

The donor could take a tax write-off equal to the fair market value of the property and avoid a capital gains tax if the property had appreciated in value since its purchase.

Initially planned as a donor-advised fund that would let donors recommend charities to support with proceeds from the sale of cleaned-up properties, the foundation has decided instead to make its own grant decisions, although it has not set its procedures.

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