Every day, our staff works with a lingering thought in the back of our minds. What happens to the programs we support in Sudan if we can't afford to keep our doors open?
In 2015, Operation Broken Silence self-started an Endowment Fund as our long-term answer to this challenge. One day, this fund will be large enough to fund our annual overhead costs - costs that include office rent, staff salaries and benefits, and even the toner for our printer.
We know that this doesn't sound nearly as exciting as the schools we sponsor in Yida Refugee Camp, but our Endowment Fund is important to our long-term health as an organization. Like any startup, we need visionary individuals who believe in and support our staff and their needs, so we can stay focused on what matters most: our mission to empower the Sudanese people to end the crisis they face in our lifetime.
Endowment Fund Update
This is the first public update for our Endowment Fund. Since the Endowment is not one of the Sudanese-led programs we support, updates work different. Instead of putting news out roughly once a quarter, we provide updates as the Endowment passes certain growth milestones. Right now, our pledge is to provide an update at $25,000 growth intervals.
Yesterday, the Endowment Fund topped $25,000 in value for the first time. Here are the big numbers we keep an eye on:
Our Endowment Fund generally grows in three different ways:
1. DIRECT GIVING & FUNDRAISING
Let's say that you give $100 directly to the Endowment. Your gift is applied to the primary mutual fund we invest in so the Endowment grows faster. Our supporters have the option of fundraising for and giving directly to the Endowment, and we put 3% of all public dollars raised per month into the Fund.
2. RECEIVING & REINVESTING EARNED DIVIDENDS & INTEREST
Dividends and additional cash income are automatically reinvested into the primary mutual fund in our Endowment. Dividends are received quarterly, with the largest being at the end of the year. Interest from a minimal amount of cash we keep in our Endowment is reinvested monthly. By reinvesting dividends and interest instead of withdrawing it, the Endowment gets extra injections of cash to speed growth up.
3. BY THE FUND'S SHARES INCREASING IN PRICE
As long as we invest wisely and the market performs well, our mutual fund shares will grow in value as the market grows. Broadly speaking, mutual funds are heavily diversified investments that grow slower than individual stocks. This tends to mean that the value of our primary mutual fund shares grow slowly over time, but they are much less likely to lose a large amount of value unexpectedly. Slow and steady wins the race.
Answers To Common Questions About Our Endowment
Is this really just a savings account?
No. Our Endowment Fund is not treated as a savings account or rainy day fund. The Fund's governing policy strictly prohibits using investments until it is large enough to remain sustainable and be used to support our team and their needs.
Who manages the Endowment?
Our Executive Director, Board Treasurer, and a certified financial advisor oversee our Endowment Fund. Our full Board of Directors is also updated on the Fund's performance quarterly. We keep a close eye on things.
How big does the Endowment Fund need to be?
This is a great question that is a little difficult to answer. Factors in deciding when our Endowment can be put into action include the size of our nonprofit, recent market and portfolio performance, our analysis of the situation in Sudan, and economic projections. It also requires our Board voting to update the Endowment's governing policy and our certified financial advisor giving us the green light.
Right now, our Endowment Fund would need to be around $3.8 million for dividends and interest to cover our annual overhead and to provide a cushion for market changes.
Wow, that's a lot of money. Will this ever actually happen?
We certainly have a long way to go before our Endowment can be used, but the answer is yes. As we've outlined above, the Fund is always growing in the background. We haven't had any major donors (individuals who can make a $100,000+ donation) give directly to the Endowment yet, but we have had a few individuals express interest in doing so. It may be years before we can use our Endowment Fund, but we're already used to doing what people have told us will be hard or impossible. It'll happen one day.
Thanks for reading! If you'd like to get involved, check out the options below:
We don't talk about our Endowment Fund often, but its long-term success is critical to our mission. One day, this fund will be large enough to fund our annual overhead costs - costs that include office rent, staff salaries and benefits, and even the toner for our printer. And that will free our team up to focus entirely on our mission. Here's how you can help:
- GIVE ONLINE HERE »
- Please make checks payable to Operation Broken Silence, write Endowment Fund in the memo line, and mail it to PO BOX 770900, Memphis, TN 38177-0900.
- To donate stock or other investments, please download our Investment Giving Form and complete the simple, 2-step process. DOWNLOAD FORM HERE »
2. Give Monthly. Setting up an automatic monthly gift is the easiest way you can help us continue to grow the Endowment. Giving monthly also comes with perks, like exclusive updates from our staff, a membership pin, and free tickets to our events at $25+ a month. GIVE MONTHLY »
2. Start Fundraising. You can start an online fundraising page for the Endowment Fund! Setting up your page only takes a minute, and then you can ask friends and family to donate. BECOME A FUNDRAISER »