April 11, 2024

Endowment fund oversight is a significant undertaking. If you are a vestry, board, or committee member with this responsibility, you likely oversee investments and monitor spending. Increasingly, you also have a pivotal role in aligning the endowment with the future of your organization.

Strong endowment policies are anchored in an organization’s vision and goals. With a regular policy review, you can ensure that your endowment policies reflect any changing circumstances and continue to match your long-term objectives. These reviews can also help to re-engage committee members and encourage them to reflect on their roles and evaluate their stewardship of the endowment. In these meetings, you may ask questions like: Are we fulfilling our fiduciary responsibilities? Do we have a solid framework to address unforeseen changes or needs? And, crucially, how do we ensure that our endowment not only thrives but also makes a lasting impact?

The infographic below will help facilitate a thoughtful endowment policy review at your church or organization.

ECF has sample endowment policies that include vestry/board resolutions, endowment committee guidelines, an investment and spending policy, and various gift acceptance policies. Please email [email protected] for a copy. We can help you consider how to adapt them for your church or organization.

March 28, 2024

The ability to recognize assets beyond the church balance sheet – which typically looks only at financial assets and liabilities – has become an essential skill. Faith communities that can shine a light on their overlooked riches – well beyond their plate-and-pledge and endowments – can bring new life and new income to their ministries. And perhaps more importantly, congregations who can explore a new vision for “big picture” assessment and stewardship of their assets – with transparency, careful conversation, candor, and deep discernment – can find new life in a deeper relationship with both their assets and their community.

March 14, 2024

What is our true purpose?

Reflecting on that 2019 “Vestry Papers” article, Nathan LeRud, dean of Trinity Cathedral, Portland, OR, reckoned, “We are not where we were four years ago.”

February 29, 2024

February 8, 2024

In this new blog series on “Reframing Assets”, we hear how four churches adjusted their thinking about their finances after Covid – reimagining assets, uncovering riches beyond the balance sheet, and charting a new course for ministry. In 2019 these churches shared plans to repurpose assets for ministry. Now, they update us on the critical four years since then, sharing lessons learned, insightful examples, and practical strategies for financial adaptation, asset realignment, and visionary stewardship. Learn how they seek to breathe new life into their community and thrive amidst change.

January 25, 2024

January 11, 2024

In September 2019, churches were just beginning to recognize the shifts in demographics and culture that became indelibly apparent to, literally, the entire world once the Covid pandemic struck. Nearly four years ago, in a “Vestry Papers” article, ECF featured the innovative strategies some church leaders were discovering to assist in funding ministry and their endowments.

November 29, 2023

What are active and passive investing?

The question of active or passive investing – which to use, which is better? – may have begun decades ago but remains a hotly debated topic today. What is active investing? It is an investment method that relies on skilled managers to research and select investments that are expected to generate higher returns than the broader market. By contrast, passive investing seeks simply to replicate a market index, often at low cost, gaining returns comparable to that of the broader market.

November 2, 2023

Unlocking the potential of young donors in your faith community demands a multifaceted approach. In this insightful infographic, we explore five powerful strategies proven to engage and inspire the next generation of philanthropists.

October 5, 2023

A sustainable endowment depends on wise spending. Do you need to take a fresh look at how you make spending decisions at your church? In the following infographic, we clarify five common misconceptions that may affect your endowment spending decisions.

September 21, 2023

Endowment funds are long-term funds, and they are appropriately invested in diversified portfolios of varying asset classes based on expectations about how each asset class will perform over the long term – typically, 10 years or more. Asset classes in an endowment portfolio will likely include equities and fixed income, US and international, large caps and small caps, and so on.

July 29, 2023

A healthy diet is a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods in appropriate proportions. Each food group serves a different purpose – dairy products provide calcium for strong bones, carbohydrates provide energy, and fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. A body’s immediate needs may fluctuate, but over time all food groups work together to provide the nutrients that a body needs to function properly.

June 29, 2023

An endowment is a powerful tool for churches to use to achieve long-term financial stability. An endowment is money designated for the long term to serve both current and future needs. A portion of the endowment can be used each year to support the church’s mission while the remaining amount helps ensure its long-term sustainability. In this post, we will discuss three critical aspects of structuring an effective endowment fund: organizing, investing, and growing.

June 15, 2023

More than 15 years ago when my mom passed away, I started a small endowment to fund the upkeep of her plot. This endowment is invested for the long-term to preserve its purchasing power and provide a stable income stream that will ensure my mom’s grave is well taken care of in my lifetime, in her grandchildren’s lifetime, and even beyond. Knowing this brings me great comfort each and every night before I go to sleep.

June 1, 2023

A new energy is springing up in churches looking to inspire new gifts to endowment. We’ve recently talked to several churches who are making plans for an endowment campaign, whether to grow an existing endowment or start a new one. While there are several steps to success, in this blog post we’ll focus on one: engaging parishioners by telling the impact story of your church so far and linking that to a future vision.

May 17, 2023

In Investing in the Future, Josh Anderson, Associate Program Director, ECF Endowment Management, outlines five things prospective donors want to know about your endowment.

April 13, 2023

Church leaders who oversee church money have a fiduciary responsibility. The money is not their own – it belongs to the church – so there are certain standards to follow. That is, you can be as carefree as you want with your own money, but not with someone else’s money!

March 30, 2023

Success doesn’t just happen; we must plan for it. Many churches have an endowment fund, but not all have the markers of success. At ECF, we encourage churches to act intentionally and proactively to build a successful and sustainable endowment that engages the vestry, the endowment committee, and the whole church community. It’s important to continually assess your endowment strategy especially if an endowment lacks organization, if it is not growing with new gifts, or if many church members are unaware of the endowment’s existence or purpose.

November 4, 2022

The importance of legacy is firmly rooted in the minds and hearts of the parishioners of All Saints Episcopal Church in Tarpon Springs, FL. I interviewed The Reverend Janet Tunnell, the rector, James Rissler, chair of the Funding our Future committee, and Ellen Lightner, chair of the Perpetual Light Legacy Society, to learn how creating a legacy society helped and is continuing to help All Saints grow the church’s endowment for the future.

July 11, 2022

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29: 18

Would you give money to a cause not knowing how it would be spent? Most people give to causes that affirm their cherished values, but donors are more likely to give when they know an organization will use their gift wisely … and believe the gift will make a difference. Churches face increasing competition for the time, attention, and money of their parishioners. Donors who care will give when they are moved by your mission, understand your plans, and trust you.