In recent months and weeks I have been invited to visit with nonprofits in small towns and rural communities across western North Carolina to discuss their endowment funds. Maybe their board of directors transitioned, and they need a refresher course about their endowment. Maybe they are considering establishing an endowment, and their board is curious about utilizing the services of their community foundation to house the endowment.
But, interestingly, I am beginning to hear the sound of a pattern evolving. The pattern might look like this. An agency is considering a capital campaign (for now long-deferred capital needs). What a grand time to establish an endowment campaign for your organization or grow your endowment — through your capital campaign.
Here is the scenario. Your organization is building – so it is a bricks and mortar capital campaign. Can you imagine a better time to grow your endowment in support of the new building, the expansion, new programs in the new building? Consider the wonderful opportunity to grow your endowment by designating a percentage from your capital campaign. Can you imagine how pleased your donors would be to learn that you are not only building for needs now, but planning ahead to fund your organization from your agency’s endowment in the future?
Your donors are likely to become very familiar and comfortable with your endowment through the process, which only increases the opportunity for future gifts.
And it does not stop there. The opportunity to market your endowment fund can then become an integral component of your overall annual resource development plan.
If your nonprofit agency would like to learn more about growing your existing endowment with us, contact me or Beth Boney Jenkins to discuss the opportunities to market your agency’s endowment. We can help, and we can share success stories. And, if by chance, your agency is planning a capital campaign, consider including funding for an endowment.
"Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tall tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth, Act V, Scene V
Recall with me, if you will, 12/31/2010, the broad market S&P 500 Index closed the year at 1,257.64. Fast forward to 12/30/2011 (last trading day of the year), and the S&P 500 closed at 1,257.60. The index dropped four basis points (0.003%!), essentially flat, so 2011 must have been a boring year, right?
Cue the Bard. While U.S. corporates cranked out record profits, amassed unprecedented levels of cash and stock valuations (P/E ratios for all you gear-heads), dropped to amazingly low levels, the financial markets weathered exceptional fits of volatility on geo-political issues in North Africa and the Middle East, Japan's natural disasters, the European debt crisis (du jour) and political gridlock in Washington. And the market only moved four basis points - 4 bps! That's the "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" part.
In a spirit of equal time, the blue chip Dow Industrials was up 5.5% while the tech-heavy NASDAQ slipped 1.8% for the year. U.S. equities outshone world markets though, with Europe exchanges off mid-to-high teens and Asian houses down high teens to mid-twenties.
Reminds me of the comment I read in the business section of a Canadian newspaper in September: "The U.S. economy is the best looking horse at the glue factory.” While many bemoan the speed and strength of the recovery, for the past three years, equities have tracked post-WWII recession performance remarkably well -- great the first year, good the second then flat the third.
So what about 2012? Fundamentals look quite positive for the U.S., but as 2011 demonstrated, results pale in the light of headline news. We have many of the same issues as 2011, hopefully not another earthquake/tsunami, though the presidential primaries and election will bring a whole new dynamic to the market.
O.K., so here's my forecast: fundamentals win out (actually, equities stage a furious comeback after election day -- whatever the result) and the S&P 500 ends the year at 1400, up about 11%.
Many best wishes to all for an extremely bright 2012, and let's get out there and serve the philanthropic needs of the citizens of North Carolina!
This may have happened to you. After a routine annual exam you are called back due to some questionable results. You are asked to get additional tests. For me it was three days before Christmas.
If you are like me, you go from carefree optimism to belief that you are about to be diagnosed with a terminal condition that will change everything. I already knew I was not strong or brave enough to handle this.
In those days I made several promises, and vowed to change some behavior. Maybe a little bargaining, but mostly realization that I take so very much for granted. Instead of squandering time and stressing over things that really do not matter, shouldn’t I have been more grateful? Shouldn’t I have let those small things go, discarded some of the petty grudges, been a better person??
Luckily for me the additional tests indicated no problem. I was free. But many of my friends and family have not been so lucky. I left the doctor’s office feeling incredibly grateful. The sky looked bluer, the air was cleaner, my husband was even handsomer! Life was good. From the despair of the previous day I emerged feeling incredibly lucky.
But what about all those promises and good intentions? What if I decided to truly live each day to the fullest and let go of those “small” things? In the heat of the moment, this was an easy pledge to make. It is not so easy in the day to day. However, that is my intention this year -- and what I hope for you. Spend time on those things that are important, be grateful for what you have and to let go of those negative thoughts. I will let you know how it goes. . .