WELS Endowments Distribute Funds to Missions, Ministerial Education
The 2005 synod convention resolved that WELS establish and build up endowment funds for the support of WELS Missions and Ministerial Education. An endowment fund is a donor restricted gift that is not spent immediately but invested in a diversified investment portfolio. Annual distributions from the endowment funds are used to provide a source of ongoing financial support.
So far God’s people have given $21.3 million to these endowment funds—$11.8 million to the Missions endowments and $9.5 million to the Ministerial Education endowments. Annual distributions are made each year in July. This year’s distribution totaled $787,444—$435,175 to Missions and $352,269 to Ministerial Education.
According to Paul Prange, administrator for Ministerial Education, the funds are providing much-needed financial assistance to students. “One third of all of our graduates from Martin Luther College graduate debt-free. And the MLC graduates who continue at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary never add any education debt. We give thanks to God for these remarkable statistics, due in part to the distributions from WELS endowment funds.”
The Missions endowments are also helping our synod take advantage of the outreach opportunities God is giving us at home and abroad. “Along with Congregation Mission Offerings and special gifts to Home Missions, these endowment funds are allowing Home Missions to start and enhance missions in North America,” says Keith Free, administrator of Home Missions. Larry Schlomer, administrator for World Missions, says, “These gifts allow us to respond to new opportunities that are developing right now through immigrant contact in WELS congregations and new leads online. Thanks to the gifts, several outreach opportunities are possible in places like Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Guatemala, and Venezuela.”
In addition to the $21.3 million already given to the WELS endowment funds, another $50.4 million is expected from planned gifts. The convention set a goal of gathering $300 million for the WELS endowments, which would ultimately distribute about $6 million each year to both Missions and Ministerial Education.