Church Endowment


Over the years, the church has been quite fortunate to have received a number of very generous bequests from our members. Ironically, the receipt of these gifts brings the responsibility of being good stewards of the resulting endowment. This responsibility became a sobering challenge with the recession and downturn in the stock market following the peak of 2000, as we watched the value of our endowment decline by 36% during the following three years.

The value of the ednowment dropped 36% following the market peak in 2000.

In response to this challenge, the Executive Board endorsed a five-year plan to wean ourselves from using the endowment to fund the operating expenses of the church. The plan relies upon an increase in pledge revenue to fully fund the church's operating expenses, with prudent annual withdrawals from the endowment for "special" projects or needs. Such projects could be a capital investment to preserve the church's historic buildings or a transformational outreach project to benefit the Nashua community.

During the 2004-2005 church year, the Executive Board began a dialog with the congregation about the appropriate governance of the endowment, i.e., whether it should be preserved and the appropriate uses for endowment funds. At the church service on April 17, 2004, three church members expressed their thoughts on the appropriate use of the endowment. You can read Steve Ladew's, Ellen Barr's, and Mike Wilt's thoughts here (211K pdf).

A survey of the congregation was also conducted, with 80 people responding. A summary of the survey results is found here. ( 95K pdf)

During the 2005-2006 church year, the Executive Board plans to establish a policy governing the church's endowment, based upon the inputs received from the congregation.

Investment Review Committee

The church's principal endowment funds are managed by Bank of America. The Investment Review Committee, chaired by Bob Sampson, oversees the fund managers, as well as monitoring several funds that are not managed by Bank of America.

The church's investment philosophy is conservative: we ask Bank of America to achieve a high total return (income plus principal growth), while maintaining a balance of income and fund growth within Bank of America's investment diversification guidelines. We believe this will best provide for the income needs of the church from year to year, while protecting the principal and providing growth. Over the long term, the goal is to increase the principal value by more than the rate of inflation to maintain and enhance the purchasing power of the endowment.