Frequently asked questions

University of Missouri Extension started its endowment and gifts program in 1984. The goal was to create a corpus, a body, of private monies to invest in MU Extension programs at both county and state levels. The program was started during difficult economic times for the state and the university with the hope that endowment earnings would replace funding lost from other sources. In 2005, a development plan was created that, for the first time, built a connection between MU Extension and the MU Development and Alumni Relations Office.

What’s the difference between a gift and an endowment?

Gifts are donations of money, tangible items, volunteer time or other valuable resources that can be used immediately to support the mission of University of Missouri Extension in the short run (one or two years).

Endowments are a long-term funding strategy whose proceeds are designated to be used for a specific purpose. The money put into this fund — the corpus — will be part of the fund forever in order to earn interest and grow. An MU Extension endowment account is a pending endowment until the fund balance reaches $2,500. At that time, paperwork is done to make the endowment permanent and distributions to county spendable funds begin. Distributions are generally made monthly once an endowment becomes permanent. The larger the corpus, the larger the distributions it can generate — distributions that will continue forever.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of gifts?

Advantages

  • Gifts help MU Extension sustain and grow in the short run.
  • They can support programs until more long-term strategies can be put in place.
  • Success is based on MU Extension’s reliable, relevant and responsive performance.
  • Gifts can stimulate more substantial funding. Money attracts money. Success attracts success.

Disadvantages

  • Once the resources are used, they’re gone, and new or continuing gifts may need to be generated to sustain programming.
  • Gift generation efforts often take time and money away from programming.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of endowments?

Advantages

  • Plans are made deliberately and carefully for long-term impact of funds.
  • University of Missouri endowment funds are professionally managed and conservatively invested.
  • The funds are expected to be in place forever to help make important programming available for generations.

Disadvantages

  • The value of the corpus and its earnings, while managed conservatively, are at the risk of the stock market and vary with its fluctuations.
  • Often, costs are associated with management of the corpus.
  • The corpus is not available for unexpected, short-term financial emergencies.
  • A significant amount of money is needed in the corpus for earnings to be substantial enough to make a significant difference.

How many counties have a funded endowment managed by the university?

As of Dec. 31, 2013, 75 percent of MU Extension councils had established endowment accounts.

County endowment funds, Dec. 31, 2013

Number
of counties

Percentage of counties

No balance

29

25%

up to $2,499

30

26%

$2,500–$9,999

40

35%

$10,000–$24,999

7

6%

$25,000–$50,000

3

3%

$50,000–$75,000

0

0%

$75,000–$100,000

1

1%

$100,000+

4

4%

How much money is needed for a pending endowment to become a permanent endowment?

When extension endowments were initially created in the 1980s, endowments at the University of Missouri needed to be $2,500 or greater to be considered funded. Today, new endowments created at the University of Missouri must be $25,000 or greater to be considered funded. The extension endowments that are currently pending or funded have been grandfathered in at the $2,500 amount, however.

How much do county extension councils have in spendable funds?

As of December 31, 2013, almost half of MU Extension councils had established gift accounts with the University of Missouri.

County spendable funds, Dec. 31, 2013

Number
of counties

Percentage of counties

No balance

56

49%

up to $2,499

35

31%

$2,500–$9,999

13

11%

$10,000–$24,999

7

6%

$25,000–$50,000

2

2%

$50,000–$75,000

0

0%

$75,000–$100,000

0

0%

$100,000+

1

1%

Lack of established gift and/or endowment accounts limits online giving options for county extension council support.

Who manages the investments of MU Extension endowments?

The Treasurer’s Office of the University of Missouri manages the investments of the endowments. Up-to-date information on investments at the University of Missouri can be found online at http://www.umsystem.edu/ums/fa/treasurer/endowment.

What are the administration fees?

Fund type

One-time gift administration fee for new deposits

Fee to transfer between spendable and endowment accounts

Annual maintenance fees

Gift

3%

0%

0%

Endowment

3%

0%

1%

What monies can go into an endowment?

Monies from donations and gifts, fundraising activities, and endowment grants can be used to create or enlarge endowments. Money from federal, state or county appropriations cannot be placed in endowment funds.

Should a receipt be issued for each gift?

Yes, a receipt should be issued for all gifts to MU Extension.

If the gift is given to the Extension Council, the council is to issue a receipt. The Fiscal Policies and Procedures document (revised 12/11/12) is posted on the MU Extension website and points out a numbered receipt is to be issued for all transactions in which money is received in the extension center or by staff at locations other than the extension center. A copy of the receipt is maintained as an official part of the accounting record.

If a gift is given via a University managed website or submitted at the state level, receipts will be provided by the University.

If an extension council chooses to issue a gift acknowledgement form, what information should it contain?

  • Name of extension council
  • Amount of cash contribution or description (but not the value) of noncash contribution
  • Statement that no goods or services were provided by the organization in return for the contribution, if that was the case, or description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services that an organization provided in return for the contribution
  • Neither the social security number nor the tax identification number of the donor needs to be noted on the receipt

The IRS publication Charitable Contributions: Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements (PDF) may be of interest.

A gift acknowledgment form (DOCX) is available on the gifts and endowment website that has the details above plus incorporates the 1972 IRS opinion letter stating gifts to extension councils are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

How do I find out my county’s current fund balances?

Balances of county university-managed endowment and spendable fund accounts are updated monthly. Just send an email inquiry to Director of Donor Education Cynthia Crawford or Director of Development Cat Comley requesting the most recent balances for your headquarter county.

Are donations to MU Extension tax-deductible for the donor?

Yes, donations to MU Extension are tax-deductible.

Who can I contact to learn more about extension gifts and endowments?

Cat Comley
Director of Development
comleyc@missouri.edu

Cynthia Crawford
Director of Donor Education
crawfordc@missouri.edu

MU Extension Accounting Associate Shelly DeJaynes, Director of Development Cat Comley and Director of Donor Education Cynthia Crawford, 2014.