Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Foundation?
Many churches have established an endowment fund or foundation for the purpose of expanding and securing future ministries of their church. We have established a Foundation to encourage and provide a process whereby bequests and other gifts could be made and effectively managed for the benefit of the ministries and missions of Bethel Church over and above the annual budget. Bequests or gifts to the Foundation allow church members to create a timeless legacy, making a testament to their Christian faith and values.

How did it come about?
The idea initially came about from the Stewardship Committee which felt there was no process whereby members and friends of Bethel Church were encouraged to make bequests for the benefit of Bethel Church and its various ministries over and above its annual budget. The Stewardship Committee and the Finance Committee established a working group to establish such a process and provide for the management and distribution of the funds. The formation of The Bethel Church Foundation as a separate entity is the result of this effort.

How long before the Foundation distributes funds?
It is anticipated that most gifts will be made to the Endowment Fund which provides that income from the fund can be distributed annually. It may take many years before income from the fund has reached a meaningful amount. Gifts made to the Special Purpose Fund or a Donor Designated Fund may not be so limited to the distribution of income. As a result distributions could be sooner.

How does the Foundation distribute funds?
The Board of Directors makes all decisions with respect to distributions from the Endowment Fund and the Special Purpose Fund in response to requests from the Session or other ministries which are consistent with Bethel’s vision. The Foundations has established Distribution Guidelines which are available upon request. Distributions from a Donor Designated Fund will be made as directed by the Donor at the time the gift is made.

Are contributions tax deductible?
Yes. This Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. As a result, any gifts to the Foundation are tax deductible.

Can I direct my contribution?
Yes. The Foundation has established a Special Purpose Fund in which principal and interest can, for example, be used by the Foundation for capital projects, missions, or activities in support of Christian education. In addition, with a donation of $20,000 or greater, the Foundation may set up a Donor Designated Fund which may be used to support any program or charitable endeavor selected in advance by the donor. Every attempt will be made to honor the wishes of the donor, however, the selection of the designated program will require approval of the Foundation and assets donated must be consistent with its Gift Acceptance Policy.

Why is the Foundation separate from the church?
As the Foundation was being formed, an emphasis was placed on providing a process for people to leave a legacy that would be used for years to come. In doing so, it was important to separate the Foundation funds from the day-to-day operational funds of Bethel Church. In addition, separation of the Foundation from the church creates an additional check on how funds are invested and used. It also prevents the denomination from claiming these assets should a dispute occur.

How will you invest my Contribution?
Any assets will be invested according to the Investment Policy adopted by the Foundation. The management of assets shall be consistent with the overall objectives of the Endowment Fund, the Special Purpose Fund or Donor Designated Fund. A copy of the Investment Policy is available upon request.

How does the board get elected?
The initial Board of Directors (5) was appointed in the summer of 2010 by the task force that created the Foundation. In early 2011, it is expected that the Board will elect an additional active elder to serve on the Board making a total of 6. Elections by the Board will be held in subsequent years as the terms of board members expire. All newly elected Board members shall have a three year term.

If I make a gift to Bethel in my will can I change my mind?
Yes. You can of course change your will at any time. You should consult your attorney to assist in making any such change. Any changes should be communicated to any Foundation board member, or in writing to the Foundation.

Can the Foundation make gifts to others than Bethel? Who decides that?
The Foundation may make gifts to Bethel or to any other charitable ministry, provided that organization’s principles are consistent with Bethel’s. The Foundation’s Board of Directors decides where any unrestricted bequests or gifts will be distributed.

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