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Endowment distributions for 2012
For the second consecutive year WELS Foundation and the WELS Ministerial Schools combined to report distributions of more than $1.4 million from endowment funds benefiting WELS ministries. Numerous mission projects, student scholarships, and educational programs will receive this needed funding.
"In a year when the financial markets underperformed historical averages, we thank God that his people gave generously to the WELS Endowment Funds. These gift additions made it possible to increase this year’s endowment distributions to ministry," says Mr. James Holm, WELS Foundation executive director.
The four WELS ministerial education schools—Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis.; Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn.; Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis.; and Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich.—can use the distributions for student financial assistance and other educational programs. “One goal of our ministerial education schools is that no student be turned away from studying for the ministry of the gospel because of finances. The regular, reliable income from the Student Assistance Endowment Fund allows our schools to meet that goal,” says Rev. Paul Prange, administrator of Ministerial Education. “Another goal of our schools, especially Martin Luther College, is that the educational debt of MLC graduates is reduced or even eliminated. The growth of the Student Assistance Endowment Fund is a key part of reaching that goal.”
The gifts to World and Home Missions will fund current mission outreach projects. “This is the second consecutive year in which there are distributions, allowing the synod to enhance ministry programs and projects,” says Rev. Keith Free, administrator for Home Missions.
An endowment fund is a donor restricted gift that is invested in a diversified investment portfolio. The annual distribution from the endowment funds is used to provide a source of ongoing financial support for WELS ministries as designated by the donor. “We are excited about the new donor designated endowments. Any individual, family, or group of Christians, can establish a named endowment for the benefit of any WELS congregation or ministry. These endowment funds create a lasting legacy by providing ongoing financial resources dedicated to support gospel ministry to future generations,” says Holm.
Gifts of any amount can be added to the existing WELS Endowment Funds, which support our synod’s mission work and ministerial education schools. Donors can also establish new donor designated or named endowment funds. The minimum funding for a new endowment fund is $10,000. Endowments can be funded with current gifts or testamentary gifts (e.g. wills, beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance proceeds).
Holm adds, “After the Israelites crossed the River Jordan to enter the Promised Land they set up a stone memorial, so that future generations would know the goodness of God. In the same way, an endowment fund leaves a memorial that can be a blessing for many years to come.”
“Our ministerial education schools carefully calculate student financial assistance on the basis of need. But no calculation can measure the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gratitude of Christian students, and families who benefit from the generosity of their fellow Christians,” says Prange.
For more information about how an endowment fund can provide a source of ongoing financial support for WELS, your congregation, or ministry, visit http://welsfoundation.net.