The Endowment Path: Four Reasons to Take It

The Endowment Path: Four Reasons to Take It

By Jackie Jacobs

Donors are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of establishing named funds, so it is not surprising that the Columbus Jewish Foundation’s holdings have grown to the neighborhood of $120 million. A significant portion of this growth comes from endowment gifts.

What is the source of these gifts? Many are initiated via estate distributions. Others get started during life and built over time. Some donors work from both ends, starting their endowment now and adding to it later with a bequest.

Why do people choose to make endowment gifts? It depends on their objectives. Here are four commonly-cited reasons:

Personal Satisfaction. Making a real difference by doing something important and lasting is highly satisfying. Endowment donors tell me that having their family name on a fund fulfills one of their highest personal ambitions.

Strengthening Charities. Charities are under relenting pressure for the “here and now,” such as facilities, programs, and personnel. Annual endowment income eases some of the financial pressure. Healthy endowments give charities a financially stable future.

Continue Annual Gifts. Someday, you will no longer be around to make annual gifts. But your giving can be perpetuated with an endowment. To continue your annual giving traditions, make provisions for a bequest or outright gift that is 25 times the amount you currently give each year. For example, a couple who gives $800 annually can endow this contribution with a $20,000 gift.

Permanence. There is a strong connection between retirement funds and charitable endowments. Both are protected and managed separately. An endowment is managed like a retirement account, providing needed income in a predictable way. In fact, individuals often designate unused retirement money to charitable endowments.

I would be happy to mail you free information on endowments and would be pleased to talk with you, without any obligation. Call me at 614-338-2365 or email

Article appears as originally published in the Ohio Jewish Chronicle, Thursday, July 27, 2017.

Jackie Jacobs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Jewish Foundation, the Central Ohio Jewish community’s planned giving and endowment headquarters.