Magic of Endowment

This holiday season, especially for children, is full of magic and wonder. Here at the Morris Community Foundation, our eyes, minds, and hearts have recently begun to understand the magic of endowment and we’d like to share this phenomenon with you!

You’ve probably heard us say before that Grundy County is a very charitable community, but philanthropy is new to most of us.

Yes, we’re very charitable – look at the outpouring of support for our area’s social-service agencies at this time of year: the money, coins, and ring in the We Care red kettles; the radio auction for Operation St. Nick; the money, food, and personal-care items being shipped to our soldiers overseas.

We’re also very charitable throughout the year: food drives, blood drives, and fundraisers to help families with mounting medical bills due to severe illness.

The collective giving of our money, food, and time is a major reason why Grundy County is a great place to live, work, recreate, study, worship, and raise a family.

So, to keep that momentum going, let’s talk about philanthropy. In our households we have checking accounts and long-term savings, such as savings accounts, IRAs, pensions, and investments. As we all know, our checking accounts are here today and gone tomorrow. If you have long-term savings, you also know that it starts small and grows over time.

“Endowment” is the philanthropic term for long-term savings for the community. Yes, we need the checking account-type of charitable giving in our county to meet the day-to-day needs of our agencies and our clients. But we also need endowment to assure that we forever provide an income stream for the issues that we care about.

Endowment has two magical components. One is the numerical fact that savings, managed and invested well, provide a permanent income stream. The second magical component of endowment is choice – we as a community determine how this permanent income stream is used in our county. Yes, we will still need the financial support that comes from Washington and Springfield, but it’s often too little or too “cookie cutter” and designed to fit the masses. Why not determine our own destiny and use local resources to address local issues of concern?

Hopefully you read or heard about our community’s newest endowment – the We Care Endowment Fund. To honor Dave Sommers’ 22 years of service to Grundy Bank and We Care, Grundy Bank donated $7,500 to establish an endowed fund for We Care at the Morris Community Foundation. Because it is endowed, this $7,500 will always be here to generate income for We Care. The Morris Community Foundation is proud to be the steward of this fund – we plan to grow it well!

For conversation sake, it’s pretty safe to say that most endowed funds hit their stride at around the 20-year mark. This is the time when the initial gift has doubled in size, the fund distributes sizable annual grants, and has cumulative grants worth nearly double the initial gift. Where else can your charitable gift double in both value and giving – forever?

And, aren’t most of us at an age where we’ll live another 20 years? Imagine the thrill of starting a fund now and watching it grow and deliver in your lifetime. Wow … how exciting!

This is the magic of endowment that is available to you through the Morris Community Foundation. As a colleague says, “You don’t give TO a community foundation, you give THROUGH it.”

What are your passions? What is it about Grundy County that makes you want to live here? Whatever the reason, we can help you meet and exceed your philanthropic goals. You can add to an existing fund or start one of your own. We’ve worked to make the process efficient and painless – we hope your attorney and CPA agree.

So at this magical time of year, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!