Endowment Fund

A Gift for Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

An endowment is a fund that is invested and provides annual grants to your parish or favorite charity forever. With a permanent endowment, your commitment to the causes you care about can continue beyond your lifetime. When you establish a permanent endowment fund at CCF, you can be assured that we will prudently invest and manage your permanent gift.

How an Endowment Fund Works

How an Endowment Fund Works

01 Gift
You make a gift to establish the fund. That gift may come in many forms: cash, appreciated stock, real estate, life insurance, or some other asset of value.

Or, you may convert a donor advised fund to a permanent endowment.

02 Invest
CCF strategically invests your fund – in alignment with our Catholic faith – to ensure it weathers market fluctuations and inflation and grows to provide a perpetual source of support to your chosen cause or charity.

 

03 Grant
Your permanent endowment will make annual distributions to support the charities and/or charitable causes you’ve identified. For example, you could fund: religious education in your parish, tuition assistance, vocations, pro-life causes, etc. You decide.

Other Gift Options

Other gift options for establishing or adding to your endowment include the remainders from charitable trusts and gift annuities that have provided you or a loved one with a lifetime of incremental income.

Different gifts will have different tax and financial benefits for you and your family.

And, once established, your children, grandchildren, or other community members can add to the endowment to honor your legacy. But, CCF will always honor your intent in granting to the causes you care about most – forever.

Endowment FAQ

What is an endowment?

An endowment is a gift that gives forever. It is designed to provide stable, ongoing gifts to your favorite charities. The principal is preserved and grows through prudent investing, and grants are distributed to your chosen charities each year.

Why would I want an endowment?

To give a gift that leaves a lasting legacy that reflects your faith and values.

An endowment bears fruit forever. It ensures your favorite charities receive a steady stream of grants each year, providing them with stable support forever.

What gifts can go into an endowment?

A variety of assets can be used to fund an endowment. These include cash, appreciated securities, required minimum distributions from IRA accounts, real estate, personal property, and more.

What are the costs associated with opening an endowment?

Other than the establishing gift, there are no upfront, out-of-pocket expenses.

We are responsible for investing the assets you contribute. An annual administrative fee of 0.80 - 1.00% provides the resources necessary to keep our doors open and staff working on your behalf. An additional investment management fee of approximately 0.75% is paid to our investment managers. View associated fees here.

What tax benefits will I see from opening an endowment?

Capital gains tax savings and estate planning benefits differ depending on your personal situation.

Can I involve my family?

With an endowment, the beneficiaries are set by you and are unchanging.  You can involve your family in that decision-making process.

If involving your family in your philanthropy is important to you, we can help you make a plan.

What if I don’t have $50,000 to open an endowment?

You can build your endowment over of time. One example would be using the required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your retirement account to fund your endowment.

Another option is to write your endowment into your estate plan. This way, your endowment will commence upon your death.

I’m worried I will outlive my savings, so I don’t think an endowment is for me.

This is a common concern. Many people choose to give upon death through an estate gift. That way, they feel financially secure today, and know they can still leave a lasting legacy through an endowment.

What makes CCF different from a typical financial institution?

We do everything with a Catholic heart. That means investing according to Catholic social teaching and the USCCB’s socially responsible investment guidelines. We also screen grantees for alignment with Catholic values.

And, as a nonprofit, our only bottom line is ensuring your legacy lasts so our community continues to benefit from your faith-filled generosity.

How much will my chosen charities receive each year?

The amount that is distributed to your endowment’s beneficiaries is determined by something called a “spending rate.” Each year, CCF’s Investment Committee reviews and recommends a spending rate to CCF’s Board of Directors for approval. The rate is based on guidelines dictated by law. These include:

  • the preservation of the endowment
  • current economic conditions
  • the possible effect of inflation or deflation
  • the expected return and appreciation of investments

The spending rate is currently set at 4% of the average fund balance over the previous 20 quarters. Structuring the rate in this way protects against short-term market volatility and smooths distributions over time in order to deliver consistent income.

The ultimate goal when determining the spending rate is ensuring the endowments CCF stewards can provide perpetual grants. 

Why an endowment rather than a large, one-time gift?

It depends on your giving goals. Let’s take a look at the benefits for each option.

Endowment

  • Ensures stable and ongoing financial support forever
  • The beneficiaries can rely on - and more importantly, plan for - the grants the endowment yields
  • Your intent is always honored, regardless of who leads the charitable organization

 

Large one-time gift

  • Help organizations complete special projects
  • Help meet large capital campaign goals
  • Provide a much-needed lifeline to charitable organizations with immediate, specific needs

 

What if I don’t have $50,000 to open an endowment?

You can build your endowment over of time. One example would be using the required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your retirement account to fund your endowment.

Another option is to write your endowment into your estate plan. This way, your endowment will commence upon your death.

How is an endowment invested?

The Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) invests endowments according to Catholic social teaching and the USCCB’s socially responsible investment guidelines. Endowments are invested in our long-term pool for balanced growth. This pool – specifically designed for the perpetual investment of endowments – seeks to generate consistent income and growth over time.

What happens when the market is down?

Endowments are designed to weather market changes by controlling the spend rate each year so as to preserve the principal.  In years with higher market returns, the extra growth accumulates and acts as a cushion for years when the market is down.

Additionally, the strategy we use to invest endowment funds is diversified to yield steady, balanced growth over a long period of time.

Will my endowment ever run out of money?

No. Endowments are designed specifically to slowly grow with each passing year.  There are even state and federal laws that govern the management of these funds to ensure they last forever. CCF always complies with these laws when stewarding your gift to provide your favorite charities with annual support in perpetuity.

What makes CCF different from a typical financial institution?

We do everything with a Catholic heart. That means investing according to Catholic social teaching and the USCCB’s socially responsible investment guidelines. We also screen grantees for alignment with Catholic values.

How much will my chosen charities receive each year?

The amount that is distributed  to your endowment’s beneficiaries is determined by something called a “spending rate.” Each year, CCF’s Investment Committee reviews and recommends a spending rate to CCF’s Board of Directors for approval. The rate is based on guidelines dictated by law. These include:

  • the preservation of the endowment
  • current economic conditions
  • the possible effect of inflation or deflation
  • the expected return and appreciation of investments

The spending rate is currently set at 4% of the average fund balance over the previous 20 quarters.

The ultimate goal when determining the spending rate is ensuring the endowments CCF stewards can provide perpetual grants. 

And, as a nonprofit, our only bottom line is ensuring your legacy lasts so our community continues to benefit from your faith-filled generosity.

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a charity that benefits from your generosity. For example, if you list Catholic Charities as a beneficiary of your endowment, an annual grant will be given to them. You can list more than one charity as a beneficiary and choose what percentage of the annual grant each one receives.

What if my beneficiary closes? Or my parish?

If any beneficiary closes during your lifetime, CCF will work with you to make necessary changes.  If a beneficiary closes after your death, CCF will change the beneficiary to accomplish, as nearly as possible, the intended purpose of your gift. 

Many donors name their parish as a beneficiary and often wonder, “What happens if my parish merges with another?” If your parish is merged, your gift continues to go to the newly-formed parish.

What if I want to change my beneficiaries?

If you decide you’d like to change your beneficiaries, just give us a call. One of our friendly expert gift planning officers will help update your chosen charities.

Get in Touch

We're Happy to Help

Christopher D. Nelson, J.D.
Vice President of Development & Donor Engagement
651-389-0874
Email Christopher