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Endowment Fund Policy

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Memorial United Church of Christ is a community of faith called by God to gather for worship and reach out in ever-widening circles as a witness to God’s all-inclusive love in Jesus Christ and to act out God’s grace and mercy in deeds of teaching, healing, reconciling, nurturing, and feeding those who are hungry in body or in spirit. To insure that future generations also may benefit from the ministries provided by Memorial UCC, the congregation established the Memorial UCC Endowment Fund Policy on February 1, 2004.

The purpose of this policy is to establish a regular procedure for the receipt, management and disposition of bequests and special gifts that are received by this congregation but are not part of regular church operations, approved special drives, or designated giving.

MUCC Endowment Fund
The purpose of the MUCC Endowment Fund is to enhance the outreach and mission of the United Church of Christ, Fitchburg and to assist in specific capital improvements or special expenses of the congregation. The fund is not intended to generate funds for Annual Operating Expenses. Only in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and where the integrity of the fund or gift restriction permits, may the congregation, by two-thirds vote at a congregational meeting, use a portion of the fund income for its own support services. Except where authorized differently by the terms of a gift, principal will be commingled with earnings and distributed on a 10 year rolling basis (tithing).

Endowment Fund Administration
The MUCC Endowment Fund will be administered and managed by the Trustee Committee. The Committee reports to the Church Council on at least a semi-annual basis.

Members of the Committee shall not be liable for any losses which may be incurred upon the investments of the assets of the MUCC Endowment Fund except to the extent such losses shall have been caused by bad faith or gross negligence. No member shall be personally liable as long as they act in good faith and with ordinary prudence. Each member shall be liable only for their own willful misconduct of omissions, and shall not be liable for the acts or omissions of any other member. No member shall engage in any self dealing or transactions with the Fund in which the member has direct or indirect financial interest and shall at all times refrain from any conduct in which his/her personal interest would conflict with the interest of the
Endowment Fund.

The Trustee Committee shall maintain complete and accurate records for the Endowment Fund. The books of the Endowment Fund shall be subject to audit as requested by the Church Council and shall be available at any time to the members of the church. A full and complete report of the Endowment Fund for the preceding year shall be included in the Annual Report given to the congregation at the end of each year. At the expense of the Endowment Fund, the Committee may provide for such professional counseling on investments or legal matters as it deems to be in the best interest of the Endowment Fund.

The Trustee Committee, with approval of the Council, may refuse any special gift or bequest if deemed outside the mission of MUCC or not in the best interest of the congregation. The Committee may also work with the family or grantor to change the designation of a gift.

In addition to managing and administering the Endowment Fund, the Committee shall also encourage members of the congregation to make gifts to the Fund. The Committee shall provide materials, programs or other informational activities that describe and encourage gifts to the Endowment Fund.

Endowment Fund Investments
Gifts to the Endowment Fund will be invested by the Trustee Committee with approval of the Council. Gifts other than cash will be converted to cash at the discretion of the Trustee Committee. A high priority will be given to socially responsible and fixed income investments. The Trustee Committee is encouraged to maintain a conservative investment profile with no more than 25% in equity investments.

Endowment Fund Distribution
To embrace the spirit of tithing, at the start of each year, the Trustee Committee will make 10% of the prior year end Endowment Fund balance (P&I) available for distribution during the current year. Funds may be requested throughout the year. Awards will be granted on a first-come basis, subject to availability. The Trustee Committee will make a one page funding request form available to all church committees, members, and to the Council. The Trustee Committee will have the authority to approve funding requests up to $500. Requests exceeding $500 will be presented to Council for approval along with a recommendation.

Where appropriate, funding requests that include matching funds will be encouraged.

It is recommended that Endowment Fund distributions over time be allocated 70% to external needs and 30% to internal needs of MUCC. At the annual meeting, the Congregation will be informed of the historical spending and asked to approve a general spending strategy for the new year.

Fund distributions will generally be made to the following categories:

Community Service and Outreach
Programs and services related to the spiritual, social, and economic needs of those in the communities the church serves. These funds will normally be dispersed through social service agencies, community action groups, and ecumenical agencies.

Wider Mission of the UCC
Programs providing for the work of the UCC in the United States and overseas. Examples include new church development, professional leadership, educational ministries, work missions, evangelism, and participation in UCC international partnerships.

Christian Education, Worship, and Music
Grants for special programs for children, youth and adults enabling them to grow in their Christian faith. Scholarships and/or grants for the purpose of attending college to pursue a church related vocation. Funds for worship, music or other church committee needs not included in the Operating Budget.

Capital Improvements
Funding for major capital improvements of facilities, building programs, acquisition of land, replacement of real property (not repairs) and debt reduction that cannot be financed by annual giving.

Amendments to Policy
The conditions and provisions of this Endowment Fund Policy may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present at an annual meeting of the congregation, provided that notice of the amendment is given in writing at the same time and manner in which the annual meeting notice is given.

Dissolution of MUCC
In the event that the United Church of Christ Fitchburg ceases to exist, for any reason, disposition or transfer of the MUCC Endowment Fund shall be at the discretion of the congregation at an annual or special meeting of the congregation, and in consultation with the denominational staff to which the congregation belongs at such time.

Now on this 1st day of February, 2004, by the authority vested in me by virtue of my office in the United Church of Christ of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, this Endowment Fund Policy, having been recommended by the Church Council and approved by the congregation at the annual meeting on February 1, 2004, is hereby adopted.

Bonnie VanOverbeke, Pastor
Dean Baumgardner, Council President