On February 19, 2019, the Minnesota Catholic Conference gathered hundreds of Catholics at our state’s capitol to advocate for policies that uphold the values of our shared faith. This event is called Catholics at the Capitol, and the energy of the attendees was palpable as they prepared to discuss a wide variety of important topics with their state representatives.
One legislative initiative that could have a tremendous impact on our faith community involves the impending transfer of wealth.
Over the next 20 years, an estimated $47.9 billion in wealth will transfer from one generation of Minnesotans to the next. That’s not only an unprecedented amount of wealth, it’s an unprecedented opportunity. In fact, some have called it “The Opportunity of a Generation.”
Is there a way to ensure at least some of those assets are used for the common good?
Yes! When wealth is transferred, it doesn’t have to all stay within a family. Any portion a person’s wealth could also be transferred to a parish, alma mater, or charity. Our government incentivizes charitable gifts with tax deductions because gifts to charity strengthen our entire community.
Here’s the best part: right now, as I write, there are policymakers working on a solution called Endow Minnesota.
Endow Minnesota is a bill that seeks to promote economic and community development throughout Minnesota by incentivizing gifts to endowed funds held at community foundations for the benefit of nonprofits. By providing a 20% matching grant for any eligible contribution up to $250,000, Endow Minnesota would spur endowment growth.
So, let’s say you give $10,000 to an endowed fund at the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota to support your parish or favorite charity. Your gift would be matched with an additional 20% – or $2,000 – to that same endowment fund. And because your $12,000 gift is permanently endowed, it will yield a 4% grant to your parish or charity of choice every year from that point on – forever.
Laws that encourage giving to permanent endowments are not new. Our neighbor, Iowa, for example, successfully raised more than $239 million in permanently endowed funds since the Endow Iowa program was passed into law in 2003.
Because we have a Catholic community foundation right here in our own backyard – the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota – the Endow Minnesota bill could encourage some of the wealth transfer to be permanently endowed, strengthening our Minnesota Catholic community, now and forever!
I encourage you to stay informed about this legislation and engage with your state legislators about the important role of endowments and individual philanthropy. And, the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota is here as a resource for any questions you may have. With a little foresight and planning, we can ensure our Catholic community is strong and vibrant for our grandchildren and their grandchildren, and yes, even their grandchildren too.
Christopher D. Nelson, J.D.
Vice President of Development & Donor Engagment
Published in The Catholic Spirit on March 7, 2019. Click here to view on The Catholic Spirit website.