In the simplest of terms, an endowment is a sum of money, permanently set aside for the benefit of a charitable organization, which is invested in long-term growth and produces an annual income stream for the organization. An Endowment supplements, rather than replaces, regular giving. It is designed to add flexibility to an organization in funding its mission. An endowment should be viewed as a form of stewardship to promote an institution’s mission rather than as a way to stockpile money.
Endowments are growing in popularity as more and more donors discover the remarkable benefits they provide. Major institutions have a long history in working with endowments. Many churches have recently become recipients of funds designated to be “endowed accounts” either by the donor or the church. Families and individuals have and are choosing to establish endowed accounts through their estate plan or with a significant gift.
HOW CAN AN ENDOWMENT BE FUNDED?
Endowments can be funded from many small gifts or a few large gifts. An endowment may be funded immediately with a gift of cash, publicly traded securities, or real estate. An endowment can be funded later by designating the remainder interest of a Charitable Trust, the proceeds from an insurance policy, or from a bequest through one’s estate plan.
WHAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED BY ESTABLISHING AN ENDOWMENT?
At minimum, there are three benefits to consider:
- An endowment will endure. MB Foundation endowments are like artesian wells. They never run dry. Only the income is used to meet the purposes of the endowment. For example, let’s say you create an endowment to provide educational scholarships. Once established, the endowment will generate earnings to make annual grants. Years from now, students will continue to benefit from your prudent planning and generosity.
- An endowment will enable. Because of their enduring quality, endowments enable organizations to plan ahead with confidence. Sometimes donors create endowment funds to enable ministries to accomplish things they would not ordinarily be able to do through normal budget channels.
- An endowment will express. An endowment provides you the opportunity to make a statement. It is the ultimate expression of what is important to you. It’s a statement of your priorities and values. An endowment also affords one the opportunity to encourage family to remember their heritage; it can also inspire in them a benevolent spirit.
At MB Foundation, we recommend the following distribution methodology: “Disburse annually 4% of the three year average market value of the Fund.” This is the current policy governing endowments at the Foundation.
The staff of MB FOUNDATION is experienced and qualified to assist you in making a powerful statement of your priorities and values through contributing to or establishing an endowment. Please contact us for more information about how you can be Giving Meaning to Money® through an endowment.