Legacy of service: New endowment aims to fund FMA initiatives in perpetuity

In a step to create stable, long-term funding for the Fort Meade Alliance’s resiliency, education and workforce initiatives, the FMA Foundation has established an endowment fund.

“Creating an endowment seemed to be the logical next step for the Foundation as we work to serve the needs of the Fort Meade region for the foreseeable future,” said Deon Viergutz, FMA Foundation President. “We see this as an avenue to create long-term relationships with donors who want to establish a legacy of support for two key FMA initiatives — resiliency services for Fort Meade military and families, and education and workforce programs for the community.”

The FMA Foundation established the endowment earlier this year through the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC), which works with Mason Investment Advisor Services, Inc. to invest and grow endowment funds. The FMA Foundation will be able to receive annual payments of four percent of the endowment’s value once the principal reaches the minimum investment of $25,000. CFAAC receives a one percent annual administration fee. Additional proceeds from investments remain in the endowment fund to compound its growth in future years. In the past five years, endowment funds created through CFAAC have averaged eight percent growth annually.

As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations and its commitment to supporting local nonprofits, CFAAC waived its $25,000 initial investment minimum and gave nonprofits up to three years to raise the $25,000.  The FMA Foundation opened its endowment with an initial investment of $1,000.

“Funding the endowment at the minimum level within three years will be relatively easy,” Viergutz said. “I think this is really about how far do we take the endowment. I have high expectations.”

Donors can either contribute directly to growing the FMA Foundation endowment’s principal or create their own endowments and direct their annual proceeds to the FMA Foundation, Viergutz said. FMA recently received a grant from another endowment managed by CFAAC.

“Many of the people that we speak with are on the cusp of thinking about their legacy,” he said. “Sometimes donors establish an endowment to create a legacy for themselves or in honor of a loved one and that endowment can support causes they care about in perpetuity.”

The FMA Foundation Endowment will also enable the Foundation to further expand its fundraising efforts beyond the alliance’s membership and into the community.

“We live our mission statement  by connecting donors who care with causes that matter,” said John Rodenhausen, CFAAC’s Director of Gift Planning.

Although CFAAC manages nearly 240 donor-advised endowment funds, “we are not just here to open bank accounts. We are building relationships in our community,” Rodenhausen said.

CFAAC works with donors to help them channel contributions to suitable organizations, and with nonprofits to help them raise funds. When a nonprofit establishes an endowment, CFAAC promotes the nonprofit through its website, social media feed, newsletter, annual report and conversations with donors and estate plan prospects.

In the process of establishing an endowment, “I learn so much more about your organization. With the Fort Meade Alliance, I have met the people who work there. I can see their passion. I have seen the new Education and Resiliency Center. So, I can speak genuinely and authentically about the work they are doing when I talk with donors,” Rodenhausen said.

In addition to supporting worthy causes within the community, donors to CFAAC-managed endowments realize an additional benefit, he said. “In Maryland, if you donate to an endowment fund that is held by a community foundation, like CFAAC, you can qualify for a 25 percent tax credit on donations up to $10,000. It is a credit, not just a tax deduction, and these tax credits are available annually thanks to the Maryland Legislature.”