UPDATE January 25, 2023: The $800K endowment and $400K emergency reserve fundraising goals (aka the $1.2M Preserve & Protect Campaign launched in 2014) have been achieved! Thank you for your incredible generosity. This achievement provides SCLA reliable funds to support its mission long term AND readily available funds in case of emergency needs. We are grateful for all who supported SCLA financially, including by adding annual gifts in the form of fish member gifts that are allocated to current expenses. We simply could not have done it without you. Your ongoing spirit of philanthropy to support our mission is a wonderful legacy that is critical to our ongoing ability to protect these lakes. The endowment was sized and designed to fund the cost of mission activities and programs in 2014. Any additional programs or initiatives will require additional funds.
In 2014, SCLA's Board of Directors worked to create a sustainable revenue stream to support the mission of the association. We believed, and still believe the best way to do this is to raise and manage an endowment fund that will generate sufficient annual returns to provide consistent revenues to fund our efforts. We also decided that it is essential to have emergency funds available in the likely event of an environmental emergency such as invasive species that will require immediate and expensive mitigation. The resulting "Preserve and Protect Fundraising Campaign" was designed with a $1.2 million goal to meet both long term and emergency needs of Spider Lake, allocating 2/3 of donations to the endowment and 1/3 to the emergency reserve fund.
In 2016 The Board of Directors converted the "Preserve and Protect Fundraising Campaign" to the Preserve & Protect Annual Giving Program, with the same objective: to raise endowment (2/3) and emergency reserve (1/3) funds to create a financially sustainable lake association. All members are encouraged to contribute annually to preserve and protect this irreplaceable resource for future generations. We hope for 100% participation by our members.
"Fish Member Gifts" (at $1000, $500, $250 fish tiers) are annual gifts directed to fund operating expenses. Fish Member Gifts are allocated directly to the SCLA Budget to fund expenses. In FY 2023, Fish Tier Membership gifts funded 39% of the budget. This heavy reliance on "Fish Member Gifts" depends on all members' continued support each year. Just over 50% of 2023 members renewed or joined at a "Fish Tier" level. Given that the cost of operating SCLA programs is roughly $400 per family, we hope that ALL members will join at a BIG FISH tier AND we hope that you will "become a bigger fish" by renewing at a larger fish level than last year (Bluegill = $100; Bass= $250; Walleye = $500; Record Musky = $1,000). Any new programs require new funding so our goal of 100% participation in Fish Memberships will be necessary to increase our work to protect the lakes.
The endowment is managed to meet two goals: preserve the inflation-adjusted value of endowed gifts in perpetuity while simultaneously supporting a meaningful and dependable rate of spending from the fund each year. An additional goal is to outperform, net of fees, a market benchmark which represents the target asset allocation. The Endowment Investment Policy Statement was developed by professionals with experience in best practices of endowment investment management to provide an expected annual real return over the long term (i.e.: >20 years) that exceeds the annual Spending Policy of 3%. In order to smooth the impact of market volatility, the 3% payout is calculated over a rolling 5 year average of the market value of the fund. As a permanent endowment fund, investment earnings above the 3% payout are reinvested back into the fund's principal to maximize long-term growth and impact. One of the benefits of endowed funds is that they harness the power of compounding to amplify principal growth for the benefit of future generations and new mission activities.
The Endowment is invested in a diversified portfolio of no-load, low cost, high quality mutual funds in a 65% global equities/35% U.S. fixed income strategy. As of March 31, 2023 the annualized return net of fees since inception (in 2016) was 7.1%. This exceeded the market benchmark by 0.6%.
EMERGENCY/Operating RESERVE FUND MANAGEMENTThe Investment Policy Statement for the Emergency/Operating Reserve Fund was developed to provide funds to combat environmental issues (ie: AIS mitigation and prevention) that impact the Spider Chain of Lakes. The fund is invested in 100% fixed income securities.
All donations to the Preserve & Protect Annual Giving Fund will be used solely for the purpose of meeting our mission of Preserving and Protecting our lakes and watershed.
Donations to the Preserve & Protect Annual Giving Fund are split between the Reserve and Endowment funds: 1/3 to Emergency Reserve Fund, 2/3 to Endowment Fund.
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