Endowment Funds

As the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, they set up a stone memorial, so that future generations would know the goodness of God (Joshua 4:4-9). In the same way, Christians today arrange planned gifts through WELS Foundation to share Jesus’ love with the people in their lives and the generations to come.

By partnering with WELS Foundation—contributing to an existing WELS endowment fund or establishing your own designated endowment—you are creating a lasting legacy of your Christian faith and helping to do the Lord’s work. Giving is an act of worship, another way to offer your Savior a thankful response for his never-failing gifts.


An endowment fund is a permanent fund designed to make steady annual distributions that increase as the fund grows. A gift to an endowment is donor restricted; it is not spent immediately but invested in a diversified investment portfolio. Annual distributions from the endowment fund are used to provide a source of ongoing financial support for WELS ministries.

Through WELS Foundation, an individual, family, congregation, or any WELS-affiliated ministry can establish an endowment, such as the Smith Family Memorial Fund or St. Paul Lutheran Church Endowment Fund, for the benefit of any WELS ministry.


  • Gift size: There is a minimum of $25,000 to establish an endowment. Once established, additional gifts may be added.
  • Personalized: Give to or establish an endowment fund to benefit the ministry you want to support.
  • Invested with WELS Investment Funds: WELS Investment Funds provides cost-effective, professionally managed investment portfolios for WELS, WELS subsidiaries, congregations, and other affiliated organizations.
  • Distributions: Distributions will be made annually to the WELS ministry you determine for your endowment.
  • Lasting legacy: Endowments provide financial support of ministry for years to come.


  • Joy: Arrange to benefit the area of the Lord’s work that is closest to your heart.
  • Flexibility: Give cash, appreciated assets, or a planned gift, such as through a will, trust, beneficiary designation on a retirement account, or insurance proceeds.
  • Encouragement to others: Additional gifts may be added to an endowment by family or congregational members.
  • Predictable support: The WELS ministry you designate in your endowment can plan to receive annual distributions to support their ministry.
  • Easy: WELS Foundation provides the necessary administration.

Endowment Fund FAQs

Your endowment is invested in the WELS Endowment Fund portfolio of WELS Investment Funds. The WELS Endowment Fund seeks long-term capital growth with some current income. It has a target asset allocation comprised of 75 percent equity and 25 percent fixed income and has a long-range investment time horizon.

View the latest WELS Endowment Fund Fact sheet

Funds from your endowment will be distributed each July to the ministry you have designated.

The amount distributed from your endowment fund to ministry is currently 4% of the prior 16-quarter (or since inception) rolling average market value of the fund as of June 30 each year. Contact us at WELSFoundation@wels.net or 414-256-3251 if you have questions about your annual distribution to ministry.

You will receive a statement for your endowment fund each January.

You can! In fact, the more additions that are made to your endowment, the more it will benefit ministry. Contact your local WELS Christian giving counselor or WELS Foundation at WELSFoundation@wels.net or 414-256-3251 to help you with any additions to your fund.

We’d love to help you with that! Updating (or adding) this information in your endowment records can help convey the purpose of your endowment to others and even encourage them to set up a similar endowment. Contact Ann Jahns at ann.jahns@wels.net or 414-256-3255 if you would like to do this.


WELS has two main endowment funds that provide ongoing and increased financial support to synod missions and ministerial education.


Christian giving counselors are available to provide you with answers and knowledgeable advice.

The information contained on this website is not intended as legal advice. For legal and tax advice, WELS Foundation encourages you to consult an attorney or tax professional. The figures cited in the examples on this website are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income tax include federal taxes only. Individual state taxes and/or state law may impact your results.