Some ways you can contribute to the Sharon Land Trust Endowment Fund
- Outright gifts of cash, stock or assets
- Bequests in a will of cash, stock or real estate
- More complicated contributions, such as Life Insurance Gifts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Land Trusts, Life Insurance, and Retirement Plan Assets require financial planner or legal advice.
If you would like more information on the details and tax benefits of these contribution methods, just let us know.Why: Currently the land trust has very little overhead. Board members and active volunteers keep operating costs at a minimum. Because of a yearly grant, all membership income and gifts can be utilized for land purchases. Over time, however, organizational strengths rise and fall. In the future, land trusts may need to hire full-time staff. Also, operational costs may increase dramatically. We currently own over 1000 acres, mostly farmland. One year we had to pay to mow a 20-acre parcel. It is possible that, in time, the land trust could have the responsibility for the cost of maintaining large amounts of open space. Since land trust responsibilities are in perpetuity it seems prudent to establish a mechanism which will guarantee that future. Our endowment insures that we will always be able to fulfill that obligation.
An endowment fund is an investment fund set aside for the long-term support of an organization. Only the income, or a portion of the income, is expended. The principal is preserved intact. An endowment provides financial stability and makes long-range planning possible, thanks to a predictable stream of income. It protects an institution in years when other revenue is reduced or costs increase.
How ours started : The SLT endowment was established in 2005 with an unrestricted bequest of $300,000 by our much-missed board member Garrett Goodbody. His generosity seemed a unique opportunity for the land trust to jumpstart an endowment fund. This bequest has been placed in a restricted endowment fund at the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. All future endowment gifts and contributions will be added to that fund.
Protecting and managing the SLT endowment: The land trust has taken all available steps to insure that the principal of the endowment is never touched. The fund at Berkshire Taconic is restricted. We have passed a board resolution that expresses, in the strongest possible terms, our wish that the endowment principal is never spent. A provision concerning protection of endowment principal has been added to our by-laws. For the foreseeable future (5 years) it is our intention that all income will be added to the endowment principal in order to help reach our eventual goal of a $1 million fund. However, we will not reach this goal without the continuing support of our members!