40th Anniversary Agency Endowment Challenge Grant

In honor of its 40th anniversary, the Gaston Community Foundation offered an Agency Endowment Challenge as one of its 2018 grant opportunities. The Foundation views endowments as a critical building block in developing the capacity and future sustainability of nonprofit organizations. Drawing from a history of facilitating long-term philanthropy and building nonprofit organizational effectiveness, the Foundation chose to invest in Gaston County nonprofits through this Endowment Challenge as part of our 40th anniversary.

A permanent endowment fund is a pool of dollars (sometime referred to as the corpus) from one or more donors that is invested. A certain percentage of the fund can be withdrawn each year to fund a nonprofit organization’s overall mission. A spending (or withdrawal) policy determines the amount that can be withdrawn each year. The Spending Policy is meant to keep the fund’s corpus intact and ensure the long-term financial health of the nonprofit organization and its beneficiaries.

Endowment funds are designed to provide a source of lasting support, representing the promise of a reliable income stream to cover many needs such as operating expenses, fill occasional shortfalls, or even seed new work. Establishing an endowment fund helps to address that unpredictability and provides great benefits to the organization:

  • Attract large gifts. Individuals often prefer to make major gifts (including bequests) to support features or efforts that will remain in place long after they are gone. Contributing to an endowment ensures that the gift lives on beyond the donor.
  • Signal strength. The existence of an endowment can serve as a signal to donors that an organization will be around for the long-term. This may draw further support from those who wish to invest in an institution that has longevity.
  • Support operations and innovation. Because it comes in as unrestricted dollars, the income from an endowment can be used as needed in any given year—for example, to smooth out financial shortfalls in lean times, and can also be used to cover ongoing overhead costs, or even fund projects that are more experimental in nature and may put an organization on the cutting edge of its field.

The Foundation awarded a total of $40,000 through 1:2 matching grants of $5,000 to the following nonprofit organizations to establish or to build an existing agency endowment fund at The Gaston Community Foundation:

  • Dream Center of Gaston County
  • Friends of the Gaston County Library
  • Gaston Together
  • Gaston County Museum of Art & History
  • Gaston School of the Arts
  • Junior League of Gaston County
  • Shining Hope Farms

Every two dollars raised by the organization will leverage one grant dollar from the Foundation up to $5,000. Grant recipients have 18 months from the date of the award to raise the full match. Grant dollars will be transferred into the endowment fund at the Gaston Community Foundation once the match has been met and follow the Foundation’s Investment and Spending Policies.

To give to any of the organizations participating in the Endowment Challenge by credit card, you may visit the Foundation's donation page online and designate the organization or you may mail a check to the Foundation, including the name of the participating organization in the memo line. If you have any questions about the Endowment Challenge please contact the Foundation's Programs Officer, Erin Wiggins, by calling the foundation's office or by email.