The Good Samaritan Ministries Fund

Planning for the future

The mission of Good Samaritan Ministries is to end poverty and homelessness through a healthy, engaged, and compassionate community. One of the ways they help meet their mission is through the Good Samaritan Ministries Fund, a nonprofit endowment fund that was founded at the Community Foundation in 2000. Good Samaritan Ministries is quickly approaching their 50th anniversary.

“We want to ensure that the next fifty years are as productive and fruitful as the first fifty,” noted Executive Director Linda Jacobs.

Five years ago, the Good Samaritan Ministries board decided they needed to get serious about building their endowment for the future. The board president at the time, John Query, began strategic planning around launching an endowment campaign. “We’ve been very blessed with generous givers, but we needed to ensure a diverse stream of funding. With public funding often in jeopardy, it’s hard to plan ahead if you’re strictly relying on annual gifts and grant funding,” said Linda. “We’re able to use the annual unrestricted income from our endowment fund to respond to the changing needs of our organization and community.”

Good Samaritan Circles Youth leader and program participants

The Faithworks Giving Group, their planned giving society, encourages individuals and couples to add Good Samaritan Ministries to their estate plans. The phrase “faithworks” is key to who the organization is. “We’re motivated by faith to take action. That’s what we’ve always been about; people of faith living their beliefs and values out loud and turning them into tangible acts of kindness,” explained Linda. John and Ann Query and Jack and Brenda VanderMeulen were the first board members to lead by example and make the Faithworks commitment.

One of the concepts Good Samaritan Ministries uses in promoting Faithworks is “a child called charity,” which is adding an additional “child” to your estate plan in the form of nonprofits you wish to support beyond your lifetime. “The Community Foundation first presented this idea in front of many of our long-time supporters at our Faithworks kick-off, and it resonated with them,” recalled Linda. “It’s a great way to share with your children how and why you’re including nonprofits in your estate plans, or to leave a legacy in the community if you don’t have children to pass resources on to.”

As part of their long-term strategic planning, the Good Samaritan Ministries board put in place a policy that all estate gifts received will be permanently endowed in the Good Samaritan Ministries Fund, unless a donor otherwise restricts the gift. This policy has enabled their endowment fund to increase tenfold in the past five years.

“It’s very hard as a small organization when you receive an estate gift to not think of all of the things you could use it for at the time it’s received. It takes discipline to save, live within your means, and to not rely on unexpected gifts to fund your day-to-day operating costs,” said Linda.

Participants in the Good Samaritan Ministries Circles + Circles Youth Program

“Our board leadership has been very wise in looking at both the short-term and the long-term and how we can sustain our organization. Having a fund at the Community Foundation presents another layer of stability, credibility, and reliability for our donors.

We’re a small organization and it wouldn’t make sense for us to manage our own endowment. Being able to rely on and leverage the expertise and strength of the Community Foundation is huge for us,” noted Linda.

“Our endowment fund enables us to do more long range planning and to weather unexpected funding changes that arise. It ensures sustainability while allowing us to be more flexible in how we achieve our mission.”

Originally featured in the Community Foundation’s 2016 Annual Report. While this was written by CFHZ’s Communications Manager Nicole Paquette in 2017, we believe that stories of generosity are timeless and always relevant.

Nonprofit Endowment Funds benefit a select nonprofit by providing ongoing support. If the fund is established by a donor, they specify how the endowed funds are to be used, and the Community Foundation provides ongoing stewardship and oversight to ensure the donor’s intentions are fulfilled.

Nonprofit Endowment Funds can also be established by a nonprofit organization to benefit themselves. The Community Foundation handles investment management and administrative responsibilities related to the endowment allowing the organization’s staff and volunteer hours to be concentrated on accomplishing their mission.