New Charter for the Endowment Subcommittee Considered

by Craig Nelsen, chair

The Board at East Shore is preparing to adopt a new charter for the Endowment, which reflects several changes the congregation should be aware of, especially donors to the Endowment.

The changes flow out of the approach the Board has directed over the past couple of years, which is to treat the financial inflows and outflows of the church, including all of the various sub-groups, committees, ministry teams, and so on in a more “holistic” manner.

The new charter for the Endowment Committee makes a few changes that match with that objective.

First, the Endowment Committee will be a “subcommittee” of the Financial Stewardship Committee; This means the management of the endowment will flow through Financial Stewardship instead of reporting directly to the Board. This helps the folks directly responsible for ensuring the financial health of the church manage that responsibility with all funds in mind.

The Endowment holds particular interest, since it has grown to a reasonable sum of money (approximately $1.3 million at this writing, although this week’s market drops will certainly impact us).

The major change in treatment of the Endowment Fund will be as a “backstop” or a capital reserve to provide a more stable source of revenue for infrastructure and assets maintenance. This is in alignment with the East Shore 5-Year Financial Strategic Plan adopted by the Board in April 2018 and sets up East Shore with a sustainable campus model. The maintenance and repair of the buildings and other campus improvements is a big, costly, and important goal of the Board and this church. The ongoing need for new finishes (paint, carpets, countertops, all that stuff), as well as some big costs like roofs, parking lot resurfacing, walkways and siding will be with us as long as we choose to maintain a campus here. And that means some years there will be expenses that outstrip the immediate ability of the operating budget to address those items. The new charter for the Endowment calls for the fund to be viewed, in part, as a facilities reserve for just such needs.

Additionally, the Policy & Governance Committee of the Board found some misalignment between the old Endowment Charter and the Bylaws. The Charter has been updated to match the bylaw requirements for how East Shore treats the purchase, sale or transfer of real property. Congregational approval, with a 25% quorum, is required to utilize the Endowment Fund in access of $100,000 in any church year (above the normal distribution, already approved by the congregation during the annual meeting and vote of the annual fiscal budget).

There is a floor of $900k which remains in place to protect the principal of the endowment (~$750k), as always, and it is anticipated any drawing of funds from the Endowment will be accompanied by plans to replenish that capital reserve.

The Endowment will continue to seek donors and grow. The Board and the Endowment Subcommittee are anxious to see the funding grow to help ensure this campus remains a beacon for liberal religious values and practice on the Eastside.

Anyone wishing to see a copy of the proposed charter can request a copy from the front desk, or find it here.

Questions can be directed to any member of the Board, Financial Stewardship or Endowment Subcommittee. The formal comment deadline is Monday, November 12. Craig Nelsen is currently the chair of the Endowment Subcommittee and can be reached at 206-419-7777.