An endowment is a permanent fund that has been established by a donor or by the church to provide a perpetual stream of income designated for a general or specific purpose. In most cases the principal of the endowment cannot be distributed except under very dire circumstances.

Arguments have been made that endowments detract from current giving. In reality, a well-established endowment policy will provide funds for ministry over and beyond the current-expense budget. Therefore the church or agency will be able to engage in outreach ministries that would otherwise go unfunded.

Benefits of Endowments

To individuals

  • An endowment gift ensures that a passion for a particular ministry will continue to be funded beyond the life of the individual.
  • An endowment gift may provide a perpetual memorial to the Christian stewardship of a family or an individual.
  • An endowment is a means to continue support for ministry when the individual is no longer present to continue to make annual contributions.

To the church or agency

  • An endowment encourages individuals to consider estate gifts.
  • An endowment can provide support for ministry during transition times as neighborhoods and ministries are rebuilt.
  • An endowment may be structured to provide matching gifts that encourage others to give beyond the budget.

How to Begin

The first step in establishing an endowment is to create a committee of interested individuals to explore various opportunities that can be empowered by an endowment. In some cases, the bequest of an individual causes the church or agency to consider establishing a permanent fund.

The United Methodist Book of Discipline provides for the manner in which a Permanent Endowment Fund Committee is to be established and the duties that it should encompass.
Book of Discipline ¶ 2534

How we can help

Staff members of the United Methodist Foundation are available to provide personalized service at your church or agency to assist with the establishment of an endowment fund. This service is provided at no cost to your church or agency.

The following is a partial list of the services we can provide.

  • Assistance in determining the skills and talents of the permanent fund committee
  • Drafting of a resolution to the charge conference to create a permanent fund committee
  • Providing sample language and suggestions in the drafting of an endowment fund policy
  • Individual consultation with donors considering gifts to the endowment fund
  • Management of funds contributed to the endowment fund
  • Providing sample language and suggestions in the drafting of an investment policy
    Request for Services

If there are any other questions or comments about endowments that you would like to discuss, please send us an email.