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 1992 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.

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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 $450,000.

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.

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.

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.”

Dedicate Your Gift:  Make your gift in honor of someone you admire or in memory of someone who was special to you. The names of those you celebrate or memorialize can be included (along with your name) on this Donors page.

Target Your Gift: You can direct that your gift be invested in one or more of five sub-funds – wherever you want your donation to have the most impact. The five sub-funds are:

  • Capital Improvements – for the TVUUC building
  • General – all-purpose
  • Memorial Garden – care and maintenance
  • Religious Education – any part of the RE program
  • Social Concerns – projects or programs that address social concerns, including  social justice.

Note: Gifts that do not specify a particular sub-fund are invested in the General sub-fund.

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 2021-2022 fiscal year are:

  • Gail Anderson (Corresponding Secretary)
  • Joy Fels
  • David Massey (Chair)
  • Maureen Dunn McBride
  • Robby McMurry (Treasurer)
  • Grier Novinger
  • Stephanie Seay (Recording Secretary)

Endowment-Funded Projects

Each July, the Endowment Fund Committee calculates the percentage of Endowment Fund earnings that can be spent on projects the following calendar year. The EFC then issues a Request for Proposals and selects which proposals to support. Board approval is required. See the 2022 Request for Proposals and the Endowment Fund Proposal Form.

See photos and descriptions of projects made possible by the Endowment Fund.

Contact Us 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.


Endowment Fund Donors

How to Give to the Endowment

Donor Information & Instructions Form

Endowment-Funded Projects

Wills and Estate Planning Information Sites

American Bar Association Estate Planning Info & FAQs

The American College of Trust & Estate Counsel

Estate Planning During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Estate Planning for Families