Rouse's legacy of good works to continue

The sale of the Rouse Co. to an out-of-town competitor made waves yesterday across the high-stakes world of commercial real estate.

But officials at the Columbia-based real estate development company also took steps to ensure that the philanthropic legacy of founder James Rouse would carry on.


As part of the sale, the company will give its philanthropic arm - the Rouse Foundation -a $20 million bequest, according to Anthony W. Deering, Rouse's chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"That will quadruple the size of the Rouse Company Foundation and enable the Rouse Company Foundation to continue to support nonprofits in the region and the state that we've had a relationship with over the years and will be a philanthropic legacy of a unique company," Deering said.


That's good news for the nonprofit entities that depend on donations from the Rouse Foundation, including the Columbia-based Enterprise Foundation. The organization founded by James Rouse more than 20 years ago focuses on offering affordable housing for the poor.

Since 1982, the Enterprise Foundation has raised and invested about $5 billion. Through its nonprofit and for-profit arms, Enterprise provides resources or funding for affordable housing, child care facilities, job training centers, commercial development and other community activities.

It is an organization with a national reach, with offices and projects from New York to Seattle.

F. Barton Harvey III, the Enterprise Foundation's chairman and chief executive officer, indicated that the sale of Rouse didn't rattle the foundation, mainly because it doesn't rely exclusively on Rouse. It typically receives about $90,000 to $100,000 a year from the Rouse Foundation - a small percentage of the roughly $20 million a year it raises from donors, according to Harvey.

"The Rouse Co. has been a generous donor to Enterprise," Harvey said.

He said the company has donated $1 million since Enterprise was formed.

Harvey credited Deering with taking the necessary steps to ensure that Rouse's presence in philanthropy will continue.

"It's a nice move by Tony Deering that he did that," Harvey said.


According to its 2003 annual report, the Enterprise Foundation had $266.9 million in assets and $146.9 million in liabilities. More than one-third of its assets were in cash and stocks.

"It's a very healthy organization," Harvey said of the Enterprise Foundation.

Sun staff writer Jamie Smith Hopkins contributed to this article.