God has blessed WELS as members see the benefits of giving to the WELS Missions and Ministerial Education Endowment Funds or establishing their own donor designated endowment fund through WELS Foundation. Some give now because they want to see the results right away. Others make arrangements for their estate assets to be transferred when the Lord takes them to heaven. Some stand in both worlds by giving now and adding to it later through a bequest.
Why do people make endowment gifts to WELS? Here are five benefits.
- Giving thanks to God. Our gifts are a recognition that all we have is from God for the purpose of bringing him glory. We worship him for giving us a Savior from sin, Jesus Christ. We appreciate the privilege he has given us to be a part of sharing his gospel with others.
- A lasting legacy. Donors often inform their families regarding the endowment funds they establish. Because the fund is permanent, the legacy of support for Christ’s work through WELS will carry forward in perpetuity and influence future generations in the family. The commitment of the fund’s first donor(s) remains as a reminder of their values for children, great-grandchildren, and others.
- Continue regular giving. There are a number of donors who recognize that their gifts each year will be missed once the Lord takes them to heaven. Instead of allowing that to happen, these wise givers create an estate gift that is 25 times the amount they currently give. For example, a couple who gives $1,000 annually can endow their gift by making a one-time gift of $25,000. Once the endowment gift is made, their inflation-adjusted annual distributions continue in perpetuity.
- Permanence. Donors may see a similarity between their retirement funds and endowment funds in that both are guarded closely, invested separately, and protected so the principal remains intact. Endowments are managed much like retirement accounts, providing needed income in a predictable way while seeking to grow the amount and not have it eroded by inflation.
- Strengthening WELS. Every year WELS needs funding for continuing the training of workers, supporting congregations, and doing mission work. That priority for the support of current ministry will always remain. Annual endowment distributions ease some of the financial pressure and allows synod leaders to plan with confidence.