Establishing an Individual Named Endowment

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could create a permanent fund in your name or in the name of someone you love and admire? A fund which strengthened the vision and carried out the mission of the NLE? One that supported top quality local community programs, like Patient Care Grants and the Lions Health Screening Unit? And most importantly, one which would leave a lasting legacy! The good news is — you can!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What does it cost to fund an endowment?

A. Any amount can be given to an existing endowment. If a new endowment is to be established, the minimum amount needed for it to be fully funded is $20,000. However, it is possible to establish an endowment for a lesser amount ($500 to establish) as long as a minimum of $20,000 has been contributed within five years of the date the agreement was signed.

Q. If I establish an endowment for less than $20,000, will it be possible for my fund to make any distributions?

A. No. Distributions will be possible only after the value of the endowment reaches the minimum amount of $20,000.

Q. Will distributions be made from my fund soon after it is established and fully funded?

A. Once an endowment is fully funded at the minimum amount of $20,000, there is an 18 month waiting period before any distributions can be made. This allows the account to grow in value and make distributions from the earnings.

Q. What if I am not able to contribute the full $20,000 by the end of the five year period?

A. The NLE Board reserves the right to terminate the endowment and roll the amount contributed into another fully funded endowment.

Q. Once my endowment is fully funded, how much is available for distribution?

A. The NLE has a policy of appropriating for distribution, over the long term, an annual average of five percent of its endowment fund’s rolling five year average fair value. This helps to reduce the fluctuation in grant distributions from year to year, especially in years when the fund’s value changes sharply due to financial market conditions.

Q. Can’t the NLE make distributions from the amount I contribute to my fund or from any capital growth?

A. No. Only the income earned by the fund is available for distributions.

Q. If the value of my endowment falls below the amount I contributed to it, will distributions continue?

A. According to current NLE guidelines, distributions will be discontinued until the value of the fund exceeds the amount previously contributed to it.

Q. Who is responsible for managing the investment of endowment assets and administering the NLE Endowment program?

A. Financial accounting and endowment investments are managed by the Northwest Lions Endowment Board. Gift planning specialists are available to help with endowment creation, donor relations, and communication.

Q. Can I customize the name of my endowment?

A. Yes. You can name an endowment after yourself, a spouse, a beloved relative (children or grandchildren), a favorite employee or board member, or even a Lions Club member.

Q. Can I stipulate a specific purpose for my endowment?

A. Yes, as long as it fits within the overall purpose and mission of the Northwest Lions Foundation and the NLE. Some endowments are designed to provide maintenance for the Lions Health Screening Unit, Patient Care Grants, Project Support Grants, and scholarships for visiting eye surgeons and eye bank technicians. There is great flexibility in designing an endowment. Unrestricted endowments may also be established to help meet the NLE’s most pressing needs as determined annually.

Q. How can an endowment be funded?

A. Gifts of cash and publicly traded securities (stocks) are ideal assets that can be easily given to fund an endowment. Real estate, life insurance, tangible personal property, and other similar assets may also be given as long as they meet the requirements of the NLE gift acceptance guidelines.

Q. Can I also make plans to fund an endowment through my estate?

A. Yes. This is often a more flexible approach for larger endowments to be funded through bequests. The NLE can be named in your will or trust, to receive a portion of your estate with the condition that it be used to create an endowment. The minimum funding level for endowments created through bequests is $50,000. You may suggest the name of the endowment and its intended purpose. In order to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled, we would encourage you to discuss your estate planning and endowment interests with a gift planning specialist.

Q. I’m interested in creating an endowment. What do I need to do?

A. First, complete the Endowment Application Form (PDF | 24.8 KB) and mail or fax it to:

Northwest Lions Endowment
attn: Planned Giving Office
221 Yale Ave. N., Suite 450
Seattle, WA 98109-5490
Fax: 206.682.8504

You may also e-mail the Planned Giving office at justin.marquart@sightlife.org or call us at 206-838-4642. A gift planning specialist will discuss your interests and options available for creating an endowment with you. A sample endowment agreement will be presented to you for your review, approval, and signature. Funding may precede the actual establishment of the endowment or be made once it is finalized. A completed agreement will be returned to you after the NLE Chair has approved and signed it.