Recognizing that a permanent financial base was important to “support continuing work and presence in the Knoxville community,” the congregation of TVUUC established the Endowment Fund in 1994. The Fund received its initial anonymous donation of $30,000 in 1996, and by 2015, has grown to nearly $400,000. Most of the donations to the Fund come from bequests in the wills of deceased members, memorial gifts honoring members, and lifetime gifts.

Unlike the funds collected during the Church’s annual stewardship campaign, the contributions to the Endowment Fund are not spent on operating expenses. Instead, they are invested permanently and only the income from the Fund is spent. The Endowment Fund began with four sub-funds to be used for specific types of expenses: Building and Maintenance, Religious Education, Social Concerns, and General expenses. An additional sub-fund has been included to support the Memorial Garden. Currently, the Fund is invested in the Common Endowment Fund managed by the Unitarian Universalist Association in Boston.

The Fund is managed by a Committee of seven members elected by the congregation to serve for three-year terms. In addition to overseeing the investments of the Endowment Fund and soliciting new contributions, the Committee periodically invites proposals to use income from the sub-funds for special projects to further the Church’s mission.

The Annual Endowment Project:

The TVUUC Endowment Fund Committee (EFC) is pleased to call for proposals for the 2020 Endowment Projects. We have all experienced the differences that past projects have made for our community, from the sound and lighting in the sanctuary, to the wireless network and video displays, to the Welcome Garden along Kingston Pike, to the recently completed Fellowship Patio. Now we are soliciting new projects for 2020.

We are making a few changes for 2020: Foremost, instead of one sizable project, we are looking for four to six smaller projects — each up to $4000, totaling no more than $14,000. We are also planning to better coordinate with church standing committees and operations. That coordination will begin with you as you consult with others while sharpening your project idea. Then the EFC will step in to help flesh out the most promising proposals. The EFC will then make our selections, clear things as needed with the Board, and start implementation — perhaps with your continued involvement!

Project Proposal forms are available in the church office or through the link below. Initial proposals are due by Monday, January 27, and chosen projects should be announced in mid March.

Some past considerations continue to apply: we focus on “capital” projects, whether brick-and-mortar or human capital, avoiding ongoing expenses which should be part of the church’s normal operating budget. So put on your thinking (future-thinking?) hat, talk things over with friends and committees, get that great idea down on paper, and submit it to the church office by January 27. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

2020 Proposal form

Current Endowment Fund Committee Members:

  • Bill Cherry
  • Betty Coleman (Secretary)
  • Don Dougall
  • Debbie Ellis (Board liaison)
  • Bill Hotz
  • Robert McMurry (Board liaison)
  • Grier Novinger (Treasurer)
  • Ken Stephenson (Chair)
  • Andrea Yates

How to Contribute

Tax deductible contributions to TVUUC’s Endowment Fund May be made at any time by a check in the plate, mailed to TVUUC, or via the donation terminal in the entryway. Make the check to “TVUUC” and indicate “endowment”. If given in honor of an individual or for a particular sub-fund, be sure to attach a note. The family (or honoree) will be notified of your gift, unless you request anonymity. If you would like more information, please contact a member of the Endowment Fund Committee directly or write to Endowment(at)


Endowment Fund Brochure
Charter of the Endowment Fund

Trust and Estate Info Sites:
The American Bar Association (Real Property Trust & Estate Law Section)

The American College of Trust & Estate Counsel