Endowments, Special Funds, and Memorials

What Are Endowments, Special Funds, and Memorials?

We often hear about Church needs being met by the generosity of others through the Endowments, Special Funds, and Memorials Committee (Endowments Committee).  Just what are those funds, what determines how are they used, and what are their limitations?

An endowed fund is established by a gift intended to be used for a specific purpose as identified by the donor.  The purpose of the endowed fund is stated in writing either as a part of the donor’s will or as stated through a written agreement with a living donor and the Endowments Committee or the donor’s counsel.

The original gift, or corpus, is prudently invested by qualified members of the Endowments Committee to create income which is disbursed in accordance with the donor’s wishes.  The corpus itself, in most cases, is used only to create a continuous income stream and is not disbursed.   To access available income, Grant Request Forms are completed and submitted through church committees and commissions.  The Endowments Committee reviews each request to determine which fund is applicable to the request, if there is sufficient income in the fund to support the request, and if more than one of the endowed funds may be accessed to support the need.  The Endowments Committee then votes whether or not to release fund income and then makes a recommendation to Session regarding the Grant Request.  No funds are released without approval from Session.  When requests for funding exceed available income, Grant Requests, of necessity, are denied, but may be resubmitted at a later time.

Depending upon the amount of the original corpus, annual income from an endowed fund may range from about $200 to several thousand dollars.  Once income from a fund is completely used during any year, funding is no longer available to meet needs until the following year’s income is accrued.

Most Special Funds are created by donor gifts with stated disbursement criteria.  These funds accrue interest only and, in some cases, permit the prudent use of the individual fund’s corpus.  Since these funds are generally smaller than endowed funds, the annual interest is limited.  The process for accessing these funds is similar to that for endowed funds.  Session must also approve all Special Funds disbursements.

Memorials Funds are composed of gifts made over time in memory of loved ones.  These funds are disbursed as stipulated by the donors or, if undesignated, the funds are disbursed to support the mission of First Presbyterian Church.  Memorial funds are not invested, but do accrue interest.  The Endowments Committee may disburse some of the corpus of this fund when an appropriate need arises.  The process for accessing and disbursing these funds is the same as that for endowed and special funds.

Every gift to the church is carefully overseen by the Endowments Committee and managed strictly according to the wishes of the donor.  All endowments, special funds, and memorial funds may be used only for their stated purposes.  None of the funds may be used to support church operating expenses.

At times, there are far more requests for funding than there is income or interest to disburse.  When available funds are being used entirely over the course of a year, it may take several years to recoup.  However, there are several ways we can broaden funding opportunities.

  1. Consider a gift to an existing fund to diminish the potential lack of funding in such areas as church projects, youth camp scholarships, Christian Education materials, and activities related to our mission.
  2. Speak to a representative from the Endowments Committee when considering a legacy gift or when creating an endowed fund.  The discussion will cover such areas as greatest church need, developing inclusive fund criteria to augment the scope of the gift, assuring the donor’s wishes for the future of the gift, and creating opportunities for the church’s future.
  3. Consider endowing or contributing to the development of an Unrestricted Fund. An Unrestricted Fund would provide funding for needs not currently covered by existing funds and provide funding to support grant requests when the applicable fund lacks sufficient income.  When endowed, an Unrestricted Fund would provide an annual stream of income to meet the unknown needs of the future.

A complete description of all our endowed funds may be found in the Church office in a binder titled, “Endowments and Special Funds”. If none currently support an area that is important to you, perhaps we can help you start one that does. For legacy and endowment information, questions, or comments, please contact John Miller, Endowments, Special Funds and Memorials Committee Chair at jmiller@ksifa.com. Or speak with any of our other members including JennyLou Brock, Matt Evans, Hank Goehring, Di Krivchenia, Allan Norris and Gail Reynolds.

If at any time you would like to meet privately at home or at church with a couple of Committee members to discuss your own desire to leave a legacy plan, just let us know. We’ll be glad to meet with you to answer any questions you may have privately and show you how easy it is to establish your own legacy plan.