Stewards of St. Andrew: A Small Parish Achieving Big Results
It is a common misconception that small parishes don’t have the capacity to create an endowment fund, but St. Andrew, Mentor, is helping to dispel that myth.
In 2009, The Rev. Kelly Kirby, St. Andrew’s rector at the time, approached Beth Brown, a parishioner, who also happened to be an experienced professional fundraiser, with the desire to create an endowment fund. St. Andrew is a small town parish with approximately 100 families and there was some initial reservation about their ability to raise enough to create an endowment.
But faith and persistence paid off and today St. Andrew’s endowment is $48,000 and growing. Beth said, “Any parish, regardless of their size, can achieve the same success if they commit to it.” She went on to say, “It is vital to have clergy and laity who are committed to the effort and willing to provide the leadership.”
The success did not happen overnight. It took several years of consistent meetings of the endowment board and educational sessions for the members of the board and the parish. “The support of the development of office of the diocese was a tremendous asset. We were able to set up an endowment fund through the Joint Investment Fund (JIF) at the diocese with a relatively modest initial investment,” Beth shared.
Beth also pointed out that although her experience as a fundraiser helped get things started at St. Andrew, any parish could enjoy the same success if they are willing to make the commitment and invest the time.
“St. Andrew was fortunate to receive one gift of $11,000; however, the bulk of our endowment is made up of gifts of less than $1,000. In fact many of the gifts have been in the $50-100 range,” Beth said. The church continues to add to the endowment by directing undesignated memorial and tribute gifts to the fund. The fund’s growth will also benefit from estate commitments made by the Stewards of St. Andrew, a growing group of parishioners who have chosen to include the church in their will. One couple has made gifts through creating charitable gift annuities through the diocese.
St. Andrew is proof that small is a relative term that doesn’t fit a church with big dreams and big plans for the future.
For more information about your parish creating an endowment fund, enhancing the one you have, or making a planned gift to your parish or the diocese, please contact Laura Hnat.