What is an endowment fund?
Churches and faith-based nonprofits can create an endowment fund into which both the organization and its supporters can direct gifts. The organization may then request distributions, directing grant dollars to the programs it designates. Thrivent assumes the complexities of administering the endowment fund, which includes accounting, investment and reporting responsibilities.
An endowment fund can be established for general purpose, or can have specific purposes such as supporting outreach efforts, building maintenance or education ministries. Within the endowment fund, sub-funds can be created to support specific purposes designated by the organization or by a donor giving to the fund.
- Any faith-based nonprofit or church interested in creating and building an endowment for charitable purposes of their choosing;
- Organizations seeking a simple, flexible endowment option to relieve endowment committee members of substantial record-keeping burdens;
- Organizations seeking to offer supporters a full range of charitable gift and fund arrangements, including charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts, along with professional expertise to aid supporters in making these gifts; and
- Organizations wishing to accommodate supporters who wish to make truly anonymous gifts.
Benefits to your supporters
Individuals may make gifts to the endowment fund using cash, publicly-traded securities, real estate, closely-held stock, life insurance and retirement assets. Gifts can also be made through bequests, beneficiary designations. Donors may also make a gift and receive income through charitable gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts. In each case, our staff works with individual supporters to structure gifts in a way that works best for their financial goals and values.
Benefits to your organization
Endowment committee members are relieved of administrative burdens, freeing them to concentrate on promoting and building their endowment fund. As endowment fund assets are no longer technically owned by the organization, they are not subject to claims against the organization. We provide planned gift support and educational resources including to build your endowment.
How to create an endowment fund
- An endowment fund is typically established by action of the voting members of a church or by action of the board of directors of the nonprofit. The specific form of the action should be consistent with the requirements of the governing documents of the organization. Often, a bylaw is drafted that describes the endowment fund, its purpose and its governing structure. The following steps can take be taken once the bylaw is in place.
- Complete and return the Fund workbook for organizations to our team (Or, create your endowment fund online.)
- We will draft a Fund Agreement and sends it to the designated representative from the organization for signing. The financial representative also receives a copy.
- Once the organization is satisfied with the Fund Agreement, it is signed by the designated representative on behalf of the organization and returned to Thrivent.
- The initial contribution to establish the fund can be sent with the signed Fund Agreement, or sent later.
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