The Vestry of a parish is a group of persons elected to serve as leaders in the church community. They are leaders in things temporal, like finances and grounds, but they are also leaders in things spiritual, and help set the direction of the parish’s ministries in concert with the Rector. Vestry service is a commitment to the whole church and its place in the world, as the parish seeks to live out its calling to be the Body of Christ. Our Vestry members serve three year terms, with four persons being elected at our annual meeting each year. Vestry members are listed below according to their “class” the year they will finish their Vestry service.
Christ Church Endowment Policy Update - October, 2014
The Christ Church Endowment Policy committee has been hard at work over the last two months. After numerous meetings with the Finance Committee and Vestry, a final draft is taking shape. The final version of the policy, which the Vestry will vote is, may be seen by following this link, or by contacting the office. You may view the Gift Acceptance Policy by following this link. We have summarized the most salient points of the policy below in a question and answer format.
Why are we crafting an endowment Policy?
To summarize, the reason for an endowment policy where that has not been one before is three-fold:
- Christ Church’s strategic plan calls for a Planned Giving Society/Campaign, which necessitates a set of policies and procedures to share with donors who are considering a legacy gift to the parish.
- We are creating a “permanent endowment” to receive new perpetual gifts. Some donors want their gifts to be available in perpetuity, so a permanent endowment fund must be created to formalize that process at Christ Church.
- We have already received unrestricted cash gifts and have not been of one mind about how to maintain or use them. This policy states how the Vestry will maintain and use current assets, as though they were permanently endowed, although legally, we cannot permanently restrict them. In our policy, these funds are listed as a “quasi-endowment”.
One underlying element to this process is that Christ Church is adopting best practices from other churches and non-profits around the use and care of endowment funds. Several assumptions are included in these practices. First, there is an assumption that those who give money to the Church expect it to be used to support the mission of the Church. The next assumption is that the institution, in this case the church, works to balance the long-term growth of perpetual gifts with the needs and opportunities of the present day organization. Endowments are not savings accounts with uncertain horizons for if, when, or how they might be utilized; they are a part of the vision and mission of the church, and exist only to support the work of the Church. With care, attention, and new gifts, such funds help further the mission of the church in the present, while growing over the long term, ensuring that future generations benefit from such generous gifts as well.
How much of the endowment will be available for use each year?
Using a total return policy that calculates the average quarterly value of the funds over three years, the disbursement from the endowment will fall between zero and five percent annually. The permanent endowment disbursement can never exceed five percent. The quasi endowment disbursement cannot exceed five percent unless two consecutive votes of the vestry (with a supermajority) make an exception to the policy. Disbursements levels will be suggested by the Endowment Committee and accepted by the Vestry on an annual basis.
How will disbursements be used?
The current draft policy states that disbursements from the permanent endowment are available for general purposes, to be determined by the Vestry, unless the gift was restricted by the donor at the time it was made. Disbursements from the quasi-endowment are to be spent on mission projects, capital improvements, special and one-time projects, or according to the wishes of a donor who makes a designated gift to the quasi-endowment, which could include general purposes. Any uses of quasi-endowment funds other than those stated in the policy would require two consecutive super majority votes of the Vestry.
How will a donor know what kind of gift to make?
The Planned Giving program will lay out options for donors, explaining the ways they might consider making gifts to the parish. While some donors will make estate plans without consulting the parish, it is our hope that donors will consult with the parish when working with their attorneys to establish such gifts.
Who will manage the Endowment Funds?
The existing Investment Committee, which is a standing committee of the Vestry, will become the Investment/Endowment Committee. Initial membership of the committee will be the same as the Investment Committee, and establishes terms of service for all committee members. Current Vestry members are ineligible to serve on the Investment/Endowment Committee. The Investment/Endowment Committee will work with our managers to track performance and adjust investments as necessary, reporting regularly to the Vestry.
What sort of gifts will the Endowment Funds receive?
There are a wide range of gifts that can and will be received into the endowment funds. That process is overseen by a gift acceptance committee, made up of the Rector, Wardens, Treasurer, and parish Chancellor. In cases where the intention of a gift is uncertain, the gift acceptance committee will investigate and make recommendation to the Vestry.
Does an endowment affect annual giving?
Many churches find that endowments can help their annual giving. Legacy giving is one part of a life of stewardship, combined with regular, annual giving and special, one-time giving. Helping people understand how legacy giving is an end-of life act of stewardship can inspire people to be generous while they are still living. Generally, our endowments will not contribute substantially to operating expenses, but towards special ministries and mission projects that exceed what an operating budget allows for. Many people recognize that legacy gifts are quite effective at meeting needs and furthering the mission of the church over the long term. All elements of stewardship work in concert to allow the Church to fulfill its mission here and now, as it has in the past, and is called to continue in the future.
For more information on best practices, visit www.episcopalfoundation.org and look in the Resource Library.
Meetings for presentation and discussion of draft Endowment Policies:
10/16 – Finance Committee, Update on Progress
10/21 – Vestry, 6:00 pm, First Vote on Final Draft
11/18 – Vestry, 6:00 pm, Final Vote on Final Draft
Susan Shipman, Sr. Warden - 2018
Tony Kreimborg, Jr. Warden - 2019
Alice Barlow - 2020
Beryl Blatchford - 2019
Kelly Galland - 2020
Wallace Harrell - 2020
John Killgallon - 2020
Scott McQuade - 2018
Gene Rackley - 2018
Nancy Stoddard - 2018
Slade Turner - 2019
Ralph Wade - 2019