GCF’s Nonprofit Endowment Challenge successfully enhanced the endowments of 20 area organizations. Endowment funds promote nonprofit sustainability by providing annual distributions in support of their respective work and missions. An endowment fund works by never spending the principle of the gift. Instead, a percentage of the value can be spent each year by the organization the fund supports.
For Tuesday Ҫetin, executive director of the Galesburg Civic Arts Center (GCAC), and Lucas Wood, executive director of the Knox- Galesburg Symphony (KGS), establishing endowment funds with GCF were essential to take their organizations to the next level.
Establishing an endowment fund with GCF is a big step for an organization. Not only does it provide financial support for their work, but it also can relieve organizations of time spent managing the money.
Thoughts from Tuesday & Lucas
“Taking advantage of GCF’s Nonprofit Endowment Match allowed us to double our money,” Lucas said. “Our board was happy to give control to the Foundation and not worry about the bookkeeping, management and legality connected to having an endowment.” He added, “The performance of the fund and the resources provided by the Foundation are the greatest benefit for our organization.”
– Lucas Wood
Tuesday was quick to note the simplicity of establishing the endowment. “It was very easy for us. Our money is in the hands of trusted professionals. We knew that by establishing an endowment fund with the Community Foundation they were looking out for us because their responsibility is to the community,” she said.
New Endowment Funds Mean New Opportunities
For both organizations the establishment of their endowment fund is also an opportunity to focus on the future.
Tuesday said GCAC used the process “To jumpstart our strategic conversations. We needed an organizational vision. We were ready for the conversation but establishing the endowment afforded us the opportunity. We aren’t just talking survival anymore– now we are talking about opportunities. This is allowing us to stop living so much in the now and start planning for our future.”
Before establishing their endowment fund with GCF, long range planning was on the Symphony’s backburner.
Lucas commented, “We hadn’t thought much about the future. Soon we will begin revising our mission and vision and will start a strategic plan. We’re going to evaluate the needs of the community and plan to create a mission built on those needs to truly serve our region.”
Knowing that an organization has a plan can be an important element in donor decision making.
“To donors who are community-minded and want to invest in the community, for them, giving to an endowment fund at our Community Foundation can be seen as a way to secure the future of our community,” said Tuesday. “Having an endowment fund is helping us match donors with our organization and a trusted place to invest their money. GCF provides security and trust for donors to ensure their gift will always be used as it should be.”
Tuesday said, “We’re a 93 year old organization. For us the endowment fund is the foundation for our future growth. It legitimizes us and our work to our donors. The endowment fund will help us get to where we want to go.”