The Augustana Foundation is announcing
its milestone birthday!

A half-century ago, wise Augustana leaders had the vision to create an endowment fund that would enable Augustana to have the fiscal mechanism and resources for thriving into the future by enhancing its congregation and caring for its broader community. A year-long initiative to celebrate the Foundation’s 50th Anniversary (1971–2021) is planned.

Organization and structure

The Foundation was established in 1971 when the congregation voted to transfer the money from its memorial gifts account into a new independent quasi-endowment fund. The inaugural resolution creating the Foundation’s endowment clearly specified that only the income from the principal was to be spent annually. Nevertheless, it included the provision that should the occasion arise at some future date, the principal sum itself may likewise be expended, in part or in its entirety by action of the congregation.

The originating resolution also included the restriction that neither the income nor the principal of this endowment fund, under ordinarily foreseeable circumstances, shall ever be used for what are commonly known as “current expenses” or “benevolent apportionments.” Rather, expenditures from the funds were envisioned for three purposes: 1) undertakings which would enrich or uplift in some special way the spiritual life of this congregation; 2) projects which would provide some worthy addition or improvement to the congregation’s facilities; and/or 3) actions which would give needed support to worthy Christian enterprises in the community.

The Congregation Council was directed to appoint a nine-member group with rotating three-year terms to receive, manage, and expend the Foundation’s resources. This group was specifically charged with distributing income funds generated by investing the endowment’s principal. Thus, the footprint for the current Foundation Board, its investment strategy, and its grants-giving program were born.

50 years of growth and stewardship

These established Foundation parameters have endured for 50 years. The starting principal of less than $18,000 from that 1971 memorial gifts account has now grown to assets of more than $3 million. Generous giving and careful stewardship of those gifts have made it possible for the Foundation’s remarkable growth. During this celebration year we will recognize some of the many individuals who have made significant contributions to growing the Foundation (e.g., past leaders, donors).

However, the most astonishing cumulative achievement is that the Foundation has awarded more than $2.6 million in grant funding over these 50 years to Augustana ministries and facilities and to many Lutheran and other community outreach organizations. During this celebration year we will be featuring representative grant recipients both within the church (e.g., special ministry initiatives; capital improvements) and external to Augustana (e.g., synod projects, Lutheran partners, local and global community outreach).

You will also hear more about the Foundation’s enduring mission. You will be introduced to the board and learn more about the Foundation’s current structure and operations. The board is eager to demonstrate how the Foundation supports Augustana’s strategic mission of Worship, Grow, and Go.

Celebrate our 50 years

Watch for details about a signature 50th Anniversary celebration event, perhaps a gala, where the entire congregation and its community partners can celebrate this milestone birthday together. Recognizing the uncertainties related to the current pandemic, it will likely embrace Augustana’s emerging technological capabilities in a virtual or hybrid gala.