LWF Endowment Fund enjoys strong year

The hands of 84 year-old María Montezuma, a member of the Gnobe community. © ILCO communication office
The hands of 84 year-old María Montezuma, a member of the Gnobe community. © ILCO communication office

(LWI) – A record level of contributions to The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Endowment Fund since 2009 has moved the fund closer to its target of CHF 20 million by 2017.

This year alone, it has received more than CHF 670,000, bringing the fund close to CHF 15 million. Most donations were from small members of the Lutheran communion in the global south, including Costa Rica, Nepal and Nigeria.

Established in 1999, it raised CHF 10 million in its first decade, sustained by a period of high interest rates.

This year, the fund distributed CHF 345,000 for LWF’s work in advocacy, humanitarian assistance, development, mission and ecumenical and interfaith relations.

In 2016, the fund will distribute a similar amount, which will again go directly to the LWF budget.

The largest single donor in 2015 was the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

LWF resource mobilization officer David Cooke said donors provide support for the long-term financial future of the LWF. The fund offers a return on investment each year, which helps provide a buffer against income variations from churches.

The target of CHF 20 million has been equally divided between member churches on the “fair share” principle—a calculation that takes into account the size of congregations and the economy of the country where the church is based.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s Reformation Challenge has set a target of 500,000 Canadian dollars for the fund, in the run up to the Reformation anniversary in 2017.

Rev. Dr Robin Steinke, chairperson of the fund board, said the fund provides income in perpetuity to support the mission of the LWF.

“Through this mission all member churches, large and small, south and north, share what funds they can and in that sharing, the gifts are multiplied. This kind of sharing is another way we witness to what it means to be a global communion of churches.”

She said that if supported, the fund could provide ongoing and sustainable revenue so the mission of the LWF could be funded regardless of the volatility of global financial markets or changes in gifts from member churches.

Member churches and individuals are welcome to contribute to the fund, which helps to witness and ministry of the LWF. The long-term goal is to reach CHF 50 million.

Check the Endowment Fund page