Providing for the Next 100 Years and Beyond
What is an Endowment Fund?
An Endowment Fund consists of donated assets that are restricted as to their use. In an Endowment Fund, only the earnings from investments can be spent. The principal, which anchors the Endowment Fund, is perpetually invested so as to generate a growing stream of future earnings. Additionally, when making a gift to an Endowment Fund, the donor has the further option to restrict the use of the income on his or her gift to a specific purpose such as scholarships, missions, unbudgeted building maintenance, etc.
Why Does Asbury have an Endowment Fund?
An Endowment Fund is a long-term investment in the Church. Just as we plan for the future in terms of ministry and outreach to our church family, we also make long term plans for how this mission will be funded.
Pastor Moore has said that, "Asbury has been the Church home of many wonderful people for 90 years. During that time, with the power of the Gospel, it has touched the lives of countless people - including you! By making a gift during your lifetime and/or directing that a part of your estate be given to the Asbury Endowment Fund, you can provide continuing support to the Church so that your children and grandchildren will have a strong, vibrant faith community where they also may grow as Disciples of Christ."
An ideal way for Asbury's membership to plan for the future is through the maintenance of a robust Endowment Fund. We are taught at the time of confirmation that the Church is of God and will be preserved to the end of time. By providing longer term financial stability, an Endowment Fund reduces the Church leadership's need to focus on current financial requirements and allows it to more usefully and strategically plan for the future.
God calls us to be faithful stewards of our possessions. As Christians, we gratefully acknowledge that all we have comes from God. One option for acting on faith is to include your church in your plans for giving — either now or in the future.
What Can an Endowment Fund Do?
In addition to strengthening a church so that it can maintain its ministry even in difficult economic times, a robust Endowment Fund can do so much more. Pastor Moore, in answer to this question, has said that, "The possibilities are endless. Endowments can provide: Scholarships, for those pursuing Christian vocations; Funds, to encourage children and youth to attend Christian Camp; Seed money, to develop new ministries; Mission support; Building expansion; and Spirit inspired dreams! A robust Endowment Fund can go a long way toward helping make our long term vision reality."
Planning and/or Making Your Gift
- Pray. Prayerfully consider making a gift to the Asbury United Methodist Church Endowment Fund.
- Study. Review information about Asbury's Endowment Fund and ask questions of the endowment committee, pastor, treasurer, and/or your own financial/legal advisors.
- Decide. Determine the form of gift that is best for the church, your circumstances, and your estate. It should be noted that gifts to the Endowment Fund can be made during your lifetime and not just at death.
- Document. Where appropriate, with your advisors, prepare a written document such as a will or trust with specific instructions about your wishes.
- Designate. Please designate your gift as follows: "Asbury United Methodist Church - Endowment Fund."
Asbury has many vital ministries that can benefit from a gift to the Endowment Fund. You might choose to designate your gift to provide funds for a specific program area - or to provide funds for unbudgeted improvements to the church building. However, because the future always holds opportunities and needs that are unimaginable in the present, unrestricted gifts are highly encouraged.
You can give a contribution in honor or in memory of someone. This is a very popular way for people to make gifts to the Endowment Fund. These gifts can be given at any time - on an anniversary, a birthday, or to honor any special event. Asbury will send an acknowledgement to the person or persons honored, or to the family of the person to be remembered, as appropriate.
There is no minimum amount. ANY size gift will be accepted and welcomed! Smaller gifts are added to the general endowment fund, larger gifts can establish a new named fund. (Individually named funds within the Asbury Endowment Fund are possible with a cumulative contribution of $25,000 or more.) Contributions of any size may be directed, at any time, to an established, named fund.
Options for Giving
There are many ways to give, and the best way for you to make a gift depends upon your personal goals and circumstances. Please designate your gift as follows: “Asbury United Methodist Church – Endowment Fund”. Some common options for giving include:
- Outright Gifts, including cash, property, stocks, and bonds.
- Wills or Trusts. In your will or trust you may name “Asbury United Methodist Church - Endowment Fund” as the direct beneficiary of specific assets, a portion of your estate, or your residual estate.
- Real Estate. Any form of real estate may be given, subject to acceptance by the church.
- Life Insurance, Individual Retirement Accounts, 401(k), 403(b), or other qualified plans. Naming “Asbury United Methodist Church - Endowment Fund” as a beneficiary of part or all of the proceeds of any of these Plans is a meaningful gift that doesn’t involve modifying your will or trust.
- Life Income Gifts, such as charitable remainder trusts and gift annuities.
Investment and Administration of Funds
Asbury Church's governing body, presently known as Church Council, recognizes that matters concerning the investment and administration of Endowment Fund assets merit serious, ongoing attention. Toward that end, Church Council has created an Endowment Fund Committee (EFC) to administer the Endowment Fund. Specific responsibilities of the EFC in the investment process include: establishing reasonable investment objectives; developing sound and consistent investment policy guidelines; setting overall asset allocation levels, as they relate to equity, fixed, and other investment c
ategories; selecting and retaining qualified investment managers; communicating the major duties and responsibilities of those accountable for achieving investment results; monitoring and evaluating results to assure that policy guidelines are adhered to and that objectives are met; taking appropriate corrective action, including discharging an investment manager for failure to perform as mutually expected; and reporting annually, to Council, the Fund’s status including the number of dollars available for distribution in that year.
With respect to the Spending Policy, Church Council recognizes that it ultimately is responsible for authorizing and approving all withdrawals from the Fund: i.e., Spending. Following are the responsibilities of various other entities involved in the Spending process.
Endowment Fund Committee responsibilities
- A Distribution Rate and a Smoothing Formula are used in the calculation of the Annual Distribution. The Endowment Fund Committee is responsible each year for approving both the Rate and the Formula before the Church Treasurer uses them in the calculation of the Annual Distribution.
- Review and approve the calculation of the Annual Distribution, as presented by the Church Treasurer, for recommendation to Council.
Church Treasurer responsibilities
- To maintain records so that quarterly Fund valuations are available upon which to base the calculation of the Annual Distribution.
- To perform the calculation of the Annual Distribution, each year, after receipt of the December 3st Fund Valuation and to present the results of that calculation and the underlying work sheets to the Endowment Fund Committee for its review and approval.
- Keep adequate records to assure that, in the event Council requests a special distribution, the integrity of all permanent endowment contributions is maintained in accordance with the donor’s wishes and that only quasi endowment funds be used to make special distributions.
- Keep adequate records to assure that the appropriate amount of the Annual Distribution is directed as required under the terms of any restricted endowments.
Does the Endowment Fund have a Funding Goal?
The Endowment Fund Committee has set a goal of raising $1,500,000 for the Endowment Fund by 2021. Pastor Moore concurs with the appropriateness of this goal and has said that, "A substantial, robust Endowment Fund will enable the church not just to survive, but to thrive as it continues to expand its ministry here in the Lehigh Valley and to the four corners of the earth!"
Asbury Church will celebrate its Centennial anniversary in 2021! As part of the Centennial Celebration, it is hoped that the Church can announce the successful achievement of this fund raising goal.
Who to contact to learn more about the Endowment Fund:
In whatever manner you might decide to contribute, the key element is planning. The tax law encourages good estate planning and offers a variety of ways in which you can help the work of Christ now and far into the future. Consider talking with your attorney or financial advisor as you prayerfully keep Asbury and its future in your thoughts.
If you wish to personally discuss these matters in the utmost confidence, please feel free to contact either: