When you hear the term “endowment fund,” you might first think of very wealthy people who donate millions of dollars to fund a scholarship or a teaching “chair” at a prestigious university. And you would be forgiven if you assume that millionaires giving millions is the only way to create or grow any type of endowment fund.
But that is not what the TVUUC Congregation had in mind in 1994 when it established the TVUUC Endowment Fund (“the Fund”). They knew that it takes a village of donors — sharing gifts both large and small — to build a church endowment fund over many years.
See a list of TVUUC members and friends who have helped build the Endowment Fund.
Members started the Fund to create a permanent financial base for and to support the continuing presence of TVUUC in the Knoxville community. It is a vehicle for ensuring the long-term survival of liberal religion in Knoxville and East Tennessee.
The Fund received its initial anonymous donation of $30,000 in 1996. Today, thanks to gifts of all sizes, along with a prudent investment strategy, the Endowment Fund has grown to over $550,000.
Unlike the funds raised during the Church’s annual stewardship campaign, contributions to the Endowment Fund are not spent on operating expenses. Instead, they are invested permanently. Earnings from the Fund are earmarked for special projects outside the scope of the operating budget.
The Endowment Fund began with three sub-funds to be used for specific needs — Building and Maintenance, Religious Education, and Social Concerns — along with an all-purpose, unrestricted General sub-fund. A sub-fund to support the Memorial Garden was added later.
Help Build the Endowment: Give Now
Like any long-term investment, the Fund grows, in part, because monies are invested in stocks, bonds and other securities that appreciate over time. However, most of the growth occurs because TVUUC members and friends are actively supporting the Fund through their donations.
Like these donors, you can help build the Endowment with:
- Memorial gifts honoring deceased members
- Gifts that honor living members or causes
- Contributions with no special designation
- A bequest in your will
- Other types of legacy gifts
Many people giving small gifts routinely over time can build a large legacy. As TVUUC member Marion Von Beck notes, “Every little bit helps, and many little bits add up to a lot.”
See these details on HOW to make contributions to the Endowment Fund.
Whenever you donate to the Fund, please also send in the Donor Information & Instructions Form. This will ensure that your donation is treated the way you wish.
The TVUUC Endowment Fund is governed by a Charter and managed by the Endowment Fund Committee, which is composed of seven members elected by the Congregation to serve staggered three-year terms. As the trustee of the Fund, the committee encourages donations to the Fund, manages the investments, and oversees the allocation of Fund earnings for special projects.
The Endowment Fund Committee members for the 2020-2021 fiscal year are:
Each year, the Endowment Fund Committee calculates the percentage of Endowment Fund earnings that can be spent on projects the following calendar year. In recent years, these projects have included a new sound system, the welcome garden at the front of the church property, and the patio alongside the Fellowship Hall.
See photos and descriptions of projects made possible by the Endowment Fund.
See a video featuring past projects and 2020 pending projects.
Each fall, the Endowment Fund Committee typically seeks ideas and proposals for the next year’s projects. However, because of the pandemic, the committee has decided to delay a decision on 2021 projects until there is greater clarity on the needs of both the building and the church community.
If you have any questions about the Endowment Fund — or suggestions for the Endowment Fund Committee — please email us at EndowTVUUC(AT)gmail.com or call the committee chair, David Massey, at 865-621-8352.
Wills and Estate Planning Information Sites
American Bar Association
The American College of Trust & Estate Counsel