“Most religious institutions would go bankrupt, but for the benevolence of a few major donors.”
— Laurence Iannoccone
This is the cheer or cry (depending on what school office you visit) of many of our Partner schools in April… by June 1 they must have raised their designated endowment match challenge so that they can receive a $1-for-$1 match from The Lutheran Foundation, as well as be eligible for an equally-sized grant from the foundation for the school’s operational needs in the next school year.
But really, why bother? Yes, it is “free money” from The Lutheran Foundation (thanks again, TLF board!)… Yes, we are talking about matching money that could range between $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the school enrollment… and Yes, how much is raised for the endowment match directly affects — up and down — how much the school can apply for in an operational grant…
Here’s a few answers to “Why”:
- Reduce the Valleys: endowments can smooth out cash flow and donations between the good years and the bad years… and reduce a school’s dependance on those few major donors that have “saved” many a budget or capital project in the past. We still want those major donors, mind you, but endowments can help keep the treasurer sane each spring.
- Forever Friend: endowments are the “gifts that keeps on giving.” Simply speaking, a $20,000 gift to a school endowment could provide a $1,000 payout every year, forever!
- Eighth Wonder of the World: Albert Einstein also labeled compound interest as “the most powerful force in the universe.” But our schools can’t compound their interest and growth their endowments without your donations to their endowments that grows their endowments with the TLF match to their endowments. Vicious circle, I know.
According to the Lake Institute, the average donor supports religious institutions with gifts totaling $1,803… what could your $1,803 gift to a school’s endowment benefit today and tomorrow?
Photo Credit: Rich Uncle Pennybags, (c) Hasbro