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Serra International Foundation Launches Endowment Giving Program

Sep 29, 2023

The Serra International Foundation has the potential to impact vocations nationally and internationally plus ensure the sustainability of Serra International, thanks to the launch of an endowment program.

The Serra International Foundation board approved policy changes and confirmed existing policies at the Foundation’s summer board meeting to better allow the Foundation to accept and handle endowments.

Judy Schumaker, President, Serra Foundation Board

“The Foundation has had endowments in the gift policies for many years, but we haven’t highlighted them as meaningful gift opportunities.” said Judy Schumaker, president of the Foundation. “New and revised policies have been created by the board to make endowment giving more accessible, and to help donors understand the benefits of establishing them.”

First, what is an endowment…

Endowments are gifts held in perpetuity and invested in a manner that protects the principal from inflation. The investment income provides a stable funding source to support vocations. Collectively, endowment gifts will make up The Serra International Foundation Endowment.

How much does it take to establish an endowment?

Leading the board’s policy changes is a new minimum gift of $30,000 required to establish an endowment.
Since the gift fund will not be spent, how does an endowment provide support?

Endowments are invested in funds approved by the USCCB and professionally managed in order to maximize interest earnings. With the generated income, 5% will be distributed annually for vocational needs and any overage will be reinvested in the endowment to help it grow, according to the newly revised endowment policy. An endowment of $30,000 will yield around $1,500 in income, the amount of an average grant awarded in the Foundation’s December grants program.
What is the difference between an endowment and a major gift?

An endowment is a type of major gift that is preserved permanently with spendable income generated from interest earnings. A non-endowed major gift is a spendable gift fund. The difference lies in what the donor wants to accomplish. Both are important to the Foundation.

What can I accomplish through an endowment?

First, create a meaningful legacy in Serra by naming your endowment for someone you wish to honor or memorialize; your family, parents, sibling, child, spouse, priest or religious, or anyone whom you wish to honor and remember.

Secondly, you can track your endowment earnings and expenditures. Endowment income will be granted and stewarded with an annual award made to a wide range of vocational programs and needs both nationally and internationally; houses of formation, religious or priestly orders, Serra Council programs, and other programs whose purposes are affirmation and exposure of youth to vocations. A stewardship report will be provided stating the value of the endowment and the recipient of the funds each year.

How can I fund an endowment?

  1. Make an outright gift with a minimum of $30,000 by check or the cash equivalent through stock, qualified IRA, insurance policy or property.
  2. A new option: Pay the gift over a period of up to 5 years. A gift of $30,000 for example could be paid over 5 years at $6,000 per year. The foundation board approved the pledge option to provide more flexibility and to make endowment giving accessible to more people.
  3. Set up an endowment through an estate plan. The simplest way to get started is to write it into the will and share a copy with the office, blacking out other details except the endowment intent. Other, more complex options are available; call the office for more information.

How can I establish an endowment?

First, contact John Liston,, to discuss your thoughts. We will work with you to answer your questions and help structure your endowment to fit your needs. An endowment agreement will be drawn up to document your intentions and to provide a record and your commitment to the endowment.

Building the Foundation endowment is a top priority for the Foundation. Because endowments are held in perpetuity and invested for the long term, these gifts provide the most secure sources of future income and help ensure the sustainability of Serra International.

“Endowments create a permanent financial base for Serra International by providing a sustainable, recurring source of income.” said Judy. “In creating a permanent fund to honor or remember a family member, a special priest or religious, or a loved one, you can experience the joy of giving during your lifetime, while helping accomplish the vocational mission of Serra International.”

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