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WELS Endowment Fund again receives accolade

For the second year in a row, the WELS Endowment Fund’s net investment return placed in the 90th percentile of the foundations that participated in the 2020 Council on Foundations—Commonfund Study of Investment of Endowments for Private and Community Foundations®. The investment returns for the WELS Endowment Fund were 22.39% and 21.22% in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

“This is a tremendous blessing to WELS organizations that have an endowment fund through WELS Foundation, because the distributions from the endowments help fund ministry,” says Mr. Jim Holm, WELS Foundation executive director. “This year, WELS Foundation distributed a total of $3.5 million to gospel work from more than 350 endowments. We praise God for his blessings!”

The 2020 study marks the ninth year that Commonfund Institute and the Council on Foundations have partnered to produce this research. With 260 participating private and community foundations representing combined assets of $115.4 billion, the study is believed to be the most comprehensive annual survey of its kind.

The WELS Endowment Fund is one of four portfolios managed by WELS Investment Funds, a self-supporting subsidiary of WELS. Synodical endowments, along with endowment funds benefiting WELS congregations and WELS-affiliated ministries, are invested in the WELS Endowment Fund.

To set up an endowment fund or learn how an endowment fund can support your ministry for years to come, contact Jim Holm at jim.holm@wels.net or 414-256-3206. Learn more about WELS Foundation at wels.net/foundation.

 

 

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WELS celebrates milestone in endowments program

This year WELS Ministry of Christian Giving and WELS Foundation are celebrating 16 years of God’s blessings—and the generosity of God’s people—through the WELS endowment funds.

In 2005, synod convention delegates prayerfully considered how WELS could help support gospel ministry in a predictable and ever-increasing manner. One answer was to establish the WELS endowments, which benefit the Lord’s work in WELS Home, World, and Joint Missions and at our four ministerial education schools. Out of gratitude for God’s love and a desire to help more people know Jesus as their Savior, WELS members have faithfully contributed to these endowments over the last 16 years, resulting in more than $100 million in gifts received ($36.7 million) and expected ($68.9 million).

“We praise Jesus for guiding our synod’s plans and prompting our members’ gifts so that we’re now able to distribute more than $1 million from these endowments for greater tuition assistance for ministerial education students and the funding of mission work to people groups located both in the U.S. and in foreign fields,” says Rev. Kurt Lueneburg, director of WELS Ministry of Christian Giving.

In addition to the two synod endowments, WELS Foundation also manages endowments that are set up by individuals, congregations, and other WELS ministries. In total, WELS Foundation distributed $3.5 million to gospel work from more than 350 endowments this year, providing ongoing financial support for gospel work throughout WELS.

One of the endowments managed by WELS Foundation was established by WELS members David and Lynette Buss, longtime supporters of Jesus’ work through their local congregation and area Lutheran high school. “We read an article about Martin Luther College in a flyer from WELS,” says David, “and we knew we needed to distribute [our blessings] to people in the ministry field.” The Busses are helping reduce the burden of tuition costs for students so they can focus on training for the ministry.

The Busses understand that an endowment fund is an ideal way to support MLC students for years to come. “This fund will grow as long as we are on this earth, and it will continue to grow and help hundreds of students in future years,” says David.

“An endowment is a great way to create a lasting legacy of Christian faith while carrying out the Lord’s work,” says Mr. Jim Holm, executive director of WELS Foundation, “and there are a variety of ways to set up an endowment: cash or appreciated assets; or through a will, trust, beneficiary designation on a retirement account, or insurance proceeds.”

To learn more about adding to an existing endowment or setting up an endowment for a ministry close to your heart, contact your local WELS Christian giving counselor at wels.net/giving-counselors or call 800-827-5482.

 

 

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Supporting WELS mission work through endowments

Thanks to the generosity of God’s people, WELS Foundation has been blessed to distribute $3.1 million from more than 350 endowments through its endowment program this year. Areas that benefited from the distributions include WELS missions, ministerial education schools, congregations, and other WELS-affiliated ministries.

One of those WELS-affiliated ministries that was blessed through endowment distributions was the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS).

Back in 2015, Mrs. Karen Fischer, who was then the president of LWMS, approached Mr. Jim Holm, the executive director of WELS Foundation, about setting up an endowment through which LWMS could support WELS mission work.

Holm recalls, “Karen knew that the ladies who support LWMS have such a passion for missions, and an endowment would give them another way to continue to provide for the Lord’s work after they were called home to heaven. WELS Foundation was thrilled to establish this partnership with LWMS to benefit the spread of the gospel both locally and worldwide.”

Fischer was also grateful for the partnership. “WELS Foundation staff walked our entire LWMS board through the process with grace and ease. It was such a blessing,” she recalls. “This new endowment fund allowed LWMS members to give a gift at any time, knowing it would generate an annual distribution in perpetuity . . . leaving a mission support legacy even after they receive their heavenly crown.”

Since 2015, WELS Foundation has distributed over $26,000 to LWMS through two endowment funds. The annual distributions support WELS mission opportunities as selected by the LWMS board of directors. The monies are distributed above and beyond the annual mission collections of members and increase the impact of LWMS giving.

The endowment distributions also allow LWMS to address any immediate needs of WELS missions. For example, a July 2020 endowment fund distribution of $7,976 was donated to support WELS Campus Ministry, in conjunction with its 100th anniversary.

Rev. Larry Schlomer, Board for World Missions administrator, says, “There is so much opportunity in the LWMS endowments that are managed by WELS Foundation. Each year the distributions from these funds go to support Home and World Missions projects. Gospel work in Mexico, Africa, Asia, and the United States have all benefited.”

Mrs. Becky Jungwirth, LWMS treasurer, appreciates the peace of mind that comes from knowing that WELS Foundation shares in LWMS’ mission. She adds, “Working with WELS Foundation is an easy process because they provide all administration and investment management (through WELS Investment Funds) for our endowments. Partnering with WELS Foundation has been a real blessing for LWMS.”

To learn more about adding to an existing endowment or setting up an endowment for a ministry close to your heart, contact your local WELS Christian giving counselor at wels.net/giving-counselors. To learn more about WELS Foundation, visit wels.net/foundation.

 

 

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