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Frequently Asked Questions About Havurah's Endowment Campaign

What are we hoping to accomplish?

By creating an endowment, we are establishing a permanent fund that will not itself be spent down. It will, however, produce earnings that can be used to support our annual program goals and budget needs.  We are trying to create a greater comfort with fundraising within the Havurah Community because dues alone are not able to meet the programming needs desired by congregants.

Why is there a gap between revenues and expenses for Havurah? What is the gap and why do we have one?

  • Congregational leadership has determined that we need about $60,000 in added revenue in order to remain solvent, given our agreed upon needs.
  • 80% of our income is dues; but dues revenues are not increasing proportionately with additional memberships.
  • More than a third of members adjust their dues down by an average of 39%. e.g. full dues are $2,700/year and our average receipt on a per member basis is about $1,650/year. (This year we see, so far, a slight improvement in yield on dues.)
  • Therefore, increasing membership and publishing a dues increase does not result in economic gain for Havurah.
  • Our values of trust and inclusiveness have led us to this self-adjusting system. In order to sustain these values, fundraising and endowment building are seen as necessary.

What are Havurah’s financial reserves, and how much are we drawing on them this year?

  • The reserves were at about $170,000 as of April 30, 2016. So our 2016 special  transfer of $35,000 was a significant percentage of our reserves.
  • The special transfers are primarily for expenses related to the rabbi search and other one-time expenses. More detail is available in the budget documents circulated for the congregational meeting to approve the budget.

How will endowed funds be managed?

Endowed funds will be invested through the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation (OJCF). Havurah’s Finance Committee will participate with OJCF in reviewing investment decisions. Generally, OJCF works with professional advisors and focuses on a conservative mix of equities (stocks), bonds, and alternatives such as real estate investment trusts.

If interest rates remain low, how big would the endowment have to be to spin off $60-100,000 a year at the 4% figure? 

The plan is to invest not only in interest-bearing funds but also in common stocks or funds, which is how a return can be generated over time beyond the interest for cash-like investments. Ultimately, Havurah will need $1.5 million in endowment to provide $60,000/year to support its budget.  We can do that, not primarily through cash gifts to the endowment, but mostly through legacy gifts, when members provide for Havurah Shalom in their wills and estate plans.

How will funds be drawn?

Our Finance Committee and congregational leadership will develop a formal taking policy for earnings. (For example a 4% taking policy based on average earnings over 13 rolling quarters is common.) The leadership team will determine how the taken earnings are applied to congregational goals.

Can we name endowment funds after someone?

At present this is not our policy. We would like to know what more of our congregants desire. However, as with all gifts to Havurah, a gift may be given in honor of someone, with notice of the gift and honor in Hakol. Just make that plain when you send in your pledge, either on the pledge card, or online.

Do you want me to give money now or to give through my estate planning?

We hope people will consider doing both. All gifts now will count towards our endowment campaign goals.


Thu, September 28 2023 13 Tishrei 5784