Planning for Forever: How nonprofit endowments ensure organizational sustainability

Endowments – funding sources that provide financial support that are critical for non-profits

Planning for the future has become standard practice for many of us. We think about saving to put a down payment on a new home, send our kids to college, take care of our parents, or comfortably retire. But how do we plan to support communities for good … forever? How does anyone plan for forever?

That question is central to the survival of nonprofit organizations in the communities we serve. Annual fundraising campaigns, the mainstay of nonprofit operations, build donor support for immediate needs. But creating a solid foundation to sustain good work indefinitely requires thinking more strategically about the future. Endowments can provide that foundation, offering nonprofits long-term stability and providing donors with the confidence that their charitable contributions are supporting an organization that will be around for years to come. And, as donor habits and preferences change, endowments can allow organizations to be flexible and adapt to changing conditions. 

Endowments are permanent, self-sustaining funding source that provides financial support for operations, facility needs, and programs–critical functions that nonprofits often struggle to raise money to support. Celebrating our 25th year has made us contemplate our future, which includes the future of the organizations we are privileged to support on behalf of our donors. As part of our anniversary celebration activities, we have identified five nonprofits to participate in an endowment challenge, which represents a $600,000 investment in the long-term success of key nonprofit organizations serving Mississippi. Donors who have supported these organizations in the past, or who are considering donating to them in the future, can help build a lasting legacy of good work in Mississippi by contributing to their endowment fund at the Foundation.

Many of the donors who contributed in 2019 to these funds were able to take advantage of state income tax credits established through the landmark Endow Mississippi program, created by the Legislature to incentivize philanthropy, encouraging donors who want to make sure their favorite nonprofits in all areas of the state are around for the long term. Endow Mississippi lets us build on our state’s long tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, providing a 25 percent state income tax credit to donors who give to permanent endowments at qualified community foundations In its first year, the program has helped generate $2 million in charitable contributions to those funds.

The success of Endow Mississippi is proof that Mississippians are indeed among the most charitable people in America, committed to supporting organizations and programs focused on doing work for good, for Mississippi, forever. 

Applications for the 2020 Endow Mississippi tax credits are available through your local community foundation, and will be accepted beginning January 31, giving donors another great opportunity to support programs through endowment campaigns. Now is the time to plan for your charitable gifts, to maximize all tax advantages and gift impact for your chosen charities. 

If you’re ready to talk about how you can support one of the organizations in our endowment challenge or discuss how to support other endowments for nonprofits in Mississippi, give us a call at (601) 974-6044, or email