Once a person commits himself to a community foundation endowment fund I would bet my lunch money that it will become one of his proudest possessions even though he has given money away. On his satisfaction meter it will outscore the vacation home, the big boat when he had it, the fancy-smancy car he seldom drives, and the diamonds he rarely gets to see. The fund will become storywise his favorite grandson or niece. The reason for all this very justifiable pride is in how an endowment fund works.
A straight out gift to a charitable nonprofit goes into their operating budget immediately. The good work it finances is usually done before the end of the budget year. Next year however, the nonprofit is still in the same needy position as the previous year. The need alleviated last year did not go away. It most likely has increased in the misery and affliction involved. A donor has two choices up front. He can turn away from the nonprofit, or he can give as he did the previous year.
A community foundation endowment fund blows that boat out of the water. If the donor puts $100,000 in an endowment fund, it begins paying a benefit to the nonprofit in the first full year of its existence, and the next year pays a little bit more, and the second year still more than the previous year. Every year a benefit is paid out but the original gift never diminishes. Instead it grows in size so that in twenty years it has paid out benefits equal to the original $100,000, and has grown as an endowment fund to over $200,000. The magnitude of the original generosity is unlimited because the endowment is invested and administered in perpetuity.
Another wonderful part of this is that the donor doesn’t need to die to get the endowment fund growing and giving. He can start the fund now while he has good years to enjoy watching it fulfill his wishes. The donor has time to consider whether he would like to increase the fund by another donation. It’s a smile that never goes away.
How could a donor not be exceedinly proud of an accomplishment like that? If you want to see it presented in a simple, honest manner, go to the Legacy Foundation Inc web site at http://www.legacyfoundationlakeco.org/ These people are the community foundation for Lake County, Indiana. Click on their What is an Endowment Fund? and their How does an Endowment Work? I wish I had put together those two pages.
I hope you are a friend of Clarion County Community Foundation when you recognize that a community foundation endowment fund is the sweetest gift you could ever give yourself. If so, call Steve Kosak, our Executive Director, at (814) 677-5085, or me, the CCCF Board President, at (814) 797-2233. If you are a friend of another community foundation when you see the light, I am still delighted. And if we happen some night to be in the same gin joint, the drinks are on me because I want to hear the complete story of your community foundation endowment fund. Charles Marlin