By Michael Morse (Special to the Florida Catholic)
Have you been a long-time annual supporter of your Parish, Catholic School, Catholic Charities or other program or ministry of the Church? Are you interested in making sure your favorite Catholic entity continues well beyond your lifetime? Have you ever wondered how best to go about this? You are not alone.
On multiple occasions, donors have voiced concern about what may happen to their Parish, school or ministry after they are gone. They worry that the next generation may be less philanthropic or less interested in supporting the mission of the Catholic Church.
Many of these donors have chosen to address this concern by creating lasting Catholic Legacies through an endowment fund with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida. Some donors choose to create their own named funds, while others choose to donate to existing funds. Either way, the impact of their gifts will be felt for generations to come.
For example, endowment funds help provide long-term stability and sustainability well into the future because they are usually structured so that the original gift amount (or principal) remains intact, while the investment earnings are used to support the donorâ€™s chosen Catholic entity. This creates a reliable, consistent revenue stream to help fund those causes the donor cares most about. For instance, these funds can help support student tuition, extraordinary parish expenses, seminarian education, outreach programs for the needy, and much more.
Endowment gifts are a great way for donors to perpetuate their values by ensuring the programs that are important to them will survive. They are also a great way for donors to continue their annual support after they are gone. For example, a donor that has been giving $1,000 to their parish every year found great relief by creating a $25,000 endowment through their will. At the current payout rate of 4 percent, this endowment will generate the same $1,000 in annual support for their parish after their death.
Not all endowment funds are created through planned giving vehicles (gifts from wills, estates, trusts, etc.). In many instances, donors choose to fund their endowments while they are still living so as to see the impact of their gifts. There are numerous ways to fund an endowment with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida, including gifts of cash, securities, property, distributions from retirement accounts and more.
If you would like to learn more about endowment funds, please contact the Catholic Community Foundation at 941-441-1124 or CCF@dioceseofvenice.org.