FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PLANNED GIVING AND GIFTS TO THE GRAYSON UMC FOUNDATION
1. Why was the Grayson United Methodist Church Foundation established?
Several years ago our church received gifts from the estates of several members of our congregation. Initially some of the gifts were used to supplement the annual budget and to pay off church debts. Part of the gifts were invested. After watching the investments for several years your Church leadership decided two things: First, that by placing the funds with other financial institutions we could receive a better return on our investments. Secondly, that we needed to do a better job of protecting the gifts that we had been given so that our ministries could continue in the future. Therefore, we took action to incorporate the Grayson United Methodist Church Foundation, establish it as an 509 (a)(3) organization, elect a Board of Directors, train the Board of Directors, and reinvest our assets in an organization that could give us a great return.
2. How are the Foundation assets invested?
We presently have about $550,000 invested with the Georgia United Methodist Foundation. This Foundation is also a 501(c)(3) organization which is fully licensed in accordance with local, state and federal regulations to serve as a custodian of charitable gifts. The Georgia United Methodist Foundation provides us with professional management of assets, record keeping and reporting, training, and financial advice. This is a firm that clearly understands the needs of churches and has a proven record of good returns on investments.
3. What Is Planned Giving?
We define “Planned giving” as mapping out a plan for leaving your legacy to Grayson United Methodist Church so that its ministries will continue in the future. The Grayson UMC Foundation is the vehicle we use to help the Church retain financial stability in the future. Church members may elect to integrate planned giving into their financial strategies during different phases of their lives. Many individuals consider planned giving when they decide how to transfer their estates to the institutions and people whom they want to benefit from their lifetime of hard work. Planned giving to our church is a way to express your gratefulness to God for all the blessing He has bestowed on you, it is a way to support other charitable organizations and it is way donors may receive tax benefits. Planned giving takes many forms (gifts to colleges, hospitals, charitable organizations) and is tailored to meet your needs and goals – few people think of giving to their church – why not make an impact in this direction now!
4. What is an endowment program?
An endowment is a permanent fund that that can be invested to establish a long-term source of funds to support the ministries of Grayson UMC. A portion of the fund is available to spend on an annual basis. A healthy endowment can provide a source of funds – beyond the annual budget – for opportunities in operations and outreach and a hedge against challenging economic times.
5. Can we designate to the Foundation how we would like our legacy gift used?
Yes – here are the opportunities that are available:
· Undesignated, Non-Endowment Fund – these gifts are given to the Foundation with no strings attached. The minimum gift is $1000.00 – all gifts are received.
· Designated, Non-Endowment Fund – the donor can give to one of 8 specific funds that have been established by the Foundation. The minimum gift is $10,000.00.
· Designated Endowment Fund – the donor can give to one of 8 specific funds with the agreement that the principal will remain untouched and that draws from this gift will only be made on the interest earned. The minimum gift is $25,000.00.
6. What will a gift to the Foundation mean to me?
A gift to the Foundation is a reflection of our faith and love in Christ. As Christian Stewards, we give back to God and neighbor as a way of life out of the abundance with which God has gifted us.
7. How do the Trustees and Foundation work together?
The Foundation and Trustees work closely together to ensure the long term financial security of the church. The Foundation keeps the Trustees, Administrative Council, and Finance Committee informed through annual and quarterly reports on the state of the invested funds and how those funds are impacting the mission and ministry of the church.
8. Are the Foundation’s Board of Directors committed to the Church’s financial security?
It is our strong belief that those who have given gifts in the past felt that the leaders of Grayson UMC could best determine the needs of Grayson UMC and they expected their leaders to be good stewards of those gifts. As a result, we, the Board of Directors, in concert with the leaders of Grayson UMC, are committed to being the best stewards of any gifts received by the Foundation and have vowed to ensure that all gifts are used in the best interest of Grayson United Methodist Church.
9. How long will it take for the investments to grow?
It depends on how committed the church and the Foundation are to building a substantial fund and how well the objectives and capabilities of the Foundation are communicated to the church at large. In short, to realize growth beyond the receipt of interest on our current investments will require that church members make a long term commitment to the Church by including the Foundation in your wills and/or one time gifts.
10. Who decides how the income is spent?
The By-Laws of the Foundation and the Foundation Distribution Policy clearly assign the Foundation Board of Directors with the responsibility of determining what gifts will be received and how the return on investments will be spent or allocated. The Charge Conference approved the By-Laws.
11. If I leave a legacy gift to the Foundation or a significant one time gift will this enable me to reduce my other gifts to the Church?
We pray that you will not reduce your annual giving to the Church because our annual budget is developed based on what members of the church give weekly or monthly. Through the annual budget we must pay for our current ministry needs. It is through your legacy gifts that we can ensure that the financial status of the church will be sound in the years to come. These types of gifts allow us to prepare for new ministries, new facilities, and new outreaches into the Grayson and Archer communities.
12. Does the leadership need to give?
Absolutely. Members of the Foundation Board of Directors and other lay leaders should be prepared to “lead by example” when it comes to establishing a church endowment.
13. How are gifts to the Foundation different than regular gifts to the church?
Your regular gifts to the Church fund the current year budget allowing the church to provide ministries. Gifts to the Foundation are gifts that are invested to provide a funding source in perpetuity to support ministries above and beyond those provided for by the annual budget.
14. Where will gifts to the Foundation come from and what assets may I give?
The Foundation is funded through outright gifts, pledges, donations of securities or other noncash assets as well as through a variety of planned gifts. These gifts include bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, and beneficiary designations in retirement plans, financial accounts, and insurance policies.
15. May I make my annual pledge to the Foundation instead of the general church budget?
Please don’t. We ask our members to continue their annual pledge and to give to the Endowment Fund above and beyond their annual gift.
16. How long will my gift to the Foundation last?
Most donors want their gifts to provide support for ministry in perpetuity. Typically endowments are established to last forever. This means that they are never totally exhausted. On a case-by-case basis the Board of Directors will consider accepting gifts for investment for a specific length of time.
17. Don’t I need a large amount of money to make a gift to the Foundation?
No, any gift of any size is important and very much appreciated. However, the Board of Directors will set the specifications as to how these types of gifts will be invested and the interest drawn used.
18. How can I keep alive the memory of a special person?
A gift to the Foundation “in memory of” or “in honor of” is a wonderful way to memorialize a special person in your life. Gifts of this nature may be normally be assigned to one or our existing designated endowment fund. Currently our existing designated funds are: Children and Family Ministry, Middle and High School Ministry, Recreation Ministry, Preschool Ministry, Worship Ministry, Missions, or Facilities Ministry. The Board of Directors will take into consideration requests for the creation of funds identified by the name of an individual.
19. Who decides how my gift will be used?
For undesignated funds, the Foundation Board of Directors accepts applications for ministry needs from the Administrative Council and other Church committees. All of the spending decisions are made by the Board of Directors based on applications received and the needs of the Church.
20. Will the Foundation provide tax advice?
Unfortunately no, we cannot. Please consult your professional advisor/attorney for tax and legal advice.
21. Where can I go to receive more information about different options of giving?
Feel free to email our Board of Directions at Foundation@graysonumc.org or you may call the Church at 770-963-2944 and they will put you in contact with a Foundation representative. Additional information is also available on the Foundation website at www.gumcfoundation.org. You may also receive free confidential consultation from the Georgia United Methodist Foundation toll free at 877.220.5664 or visit the planned giving tab at www.gumf.org.
22. How can I endow my annual giving amount?
Endowing your annual giving amount for use for the annual budget would assure that your annual giving would continue in perpetuity. You may do this by leaving enough of your assets that the income from the assets would produce the same amount as your annual pledge.
23. How can I tithe my estate?
You may tithe your estate by giving 10% of your estate to the Foundation.
24. Do I Need a Will?
YES! Without a will, the laws of the state will determine who will receive your assets and who will manage your estate. As a result, the state may not include all of the persons or charities that you would like to benefit. A will allows you to appoint a guardian for your minor children, choose a representative to carry out your wishes, and determine the final distribution of your estate assets. Making a charitable bequest (i.e., giving assets to charity through a will) is the simplest way to make a planned gift. You state in your will the amount or percentage of assets that are to pass to the church. You receive an estate tax deduction for the amount of the bequest. There is no limit on the amount that can be deducted for estate tax purposes.
25. What is Our Responsibility Today for Tomorrow?
Things happen at Grayson UMC because God has invited us to join Him in what He is doing here. As God’s disciples when something needs to be done it is you and I who will get the job done. This should be no surprise because when we joined the United Methodist Church we promised to give of our prayers, our presents, our gifts, our service and our witness in the making of Disciples of Jesus Christ. There is no outside help. What God has planned for Grayson UMC is not completely known, but we do know that we must reach out into the Grayson community with vibrant ministries that will bring the “unchurch” to Him. The Foundation is the best vehicle we have to begin making God’s vision for our church happen in the future! Each of us can join in this preparation for the future by leaving a legacy - your gift can make a difference regardless of who you are and how much you have to give!