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Lewes Historical Society: Endowment FAQ's

Estate Planning & The Lewes Historical Society (LHS)


Q: What is an Endowment Fund?
A: An Endowment Fund is a permanent, self-sustaining fund that is owned by an organization, often a
non-profit. It is usually designed so that the fund’s earnings pay out annual disbursements to the owning
organization, without spending original donations. In this way, gifts to the fund become perpetual “gifts
that keep on giving”.

Q: What does the LHS’s Endowment Fund do?
A: The LHS’s Endowment Fund provides annual income to support its programs and educational
activities, and to preserve and enhance its historic collections, buildings and grounds.

Q: How much does the LHS Endowment Fund contribute to the annual operating budget?
A: The Endowment Fund should contribute as much one third or more of the LHS's annual needs on a
year-in year-out basis. However, at present most of the LHS’s income is provided by fundraising events and donations. One great advantage of endowment income is that it is less vulnerable to weather disruptions and short- term economic downturns than are fundraising events and donations.

Q: How does the LHS Endowment Fund grow to reach its goal?
A: Each year only a portion of the fund’s investment earnings are paid out to support the LHS’s
operations. In keeping with other similar non-profit organizations, the annual percentage paid out is
presently set by the LHS Endowment Fund Committee at 5% of the invested balance.
Earnings in excess of this paid-out portion are used to build the fund’s value.
Other major sources of Endowment Fund growth are gifts of any size made through:
 Bequests (made through wills)
 Contributions (made during their lifetime by Society members and friends)
 Memorial Funds

Q: What is a bequest?
A: A bequest is the leaving of a gift in one’s will.

Q: How do I go about leaving a bequest to the LHS?
A: When making or updating your will, insert language stating: “I bequeath $ _____ (or ___% of my
estate) to “The Lewes Historical Society, 110 Shipcarpenter Street, Lewes, Delaware 19958. TIN: 51-
6017951”. Please specify “For deposit to the Endowment Fund” if that is your intent.

Q: Can I plan a bequest to the LHS, but keep my plan confidential?
A: Yes. There is no requirement that you notify the LHS that it is a beneficiary in your will.
However, notifying the LHS of a planned gift during your lifetime makes you a Legacy Donor. Legacy Donors are those who have named the LHS in their estate plans, and their stories may be shared as an
inspiration to others to give.

Q: Can I make donations to the LHS Endowment Fund at any time during my lifetime -- for example, if I have already made other commitments for my residual estate?
A: Yes. You may donate to the LHS Endowment Fund as many times as you choose during your lifetime.
Be sure that your payment is specified as: “For deposit in the Endowment Fund”.

Q: What are Memorial Funds?
A: Memorial Funds are donations made in memory of individuals. Sometimes such funds are started as
“In Lieu of Flowers” -- something to consider during final arrangement planning. Additional contributions to
Memorial Funds can be made at any time.

Q: What if I want to start a fund that will be restricted to support a specific area or project? (Examples: to support The Cannonball House or education programs or to help build and maintain the LHS’s collection).
A: You can establish a “Named Fund” within the LHS’s Endowment that is restricted by you to the specific
area you wish to support. Although most donations can be of any size, the minimum for a donor-restricted
“Named Fund” is $50,000. Such a fund may be named for an individual such as yourself, a loved-one or anyone you designate. Or it may remain anonymous.

Q: Who manages the LHS Endowment Fund?
A: The Society has an Endowment Fund Committee made up of Members who are appointed /
reappointed annually by the Board of Trustees. This Committee has oversight of the Endowment Fund,
supported by professional input from The Chesapeake Group and The Delaware Community Foundation.

Q: Who should I contact at the LHS for a confidential discussion about giving to its Endowment?
A: Please contact the LHS’s Executive Director at (302)645-7670 or email [email protected] .