Frequently Asked Questions

What does the United Methodist Foundation do?

We are a leader in the Northern Illinois Conference in providing stewardship resources to assist local churches and United Methodists in their stewardship ministry. We multiply resources for ministry in the Name of Jesus Christ by …

  • offering an exemplary, socially responsible investment program for local churches and agencies
  • helping develop and promote endowment funds and planned giving in local churches
  • providing training and awareness about lifelong stewardship opportunities
  • providing assistance to individuals who wish to make a gift to their church or other United Methodist-related organization
  • funding grants to encourage creative ministries

How is the United Methodist Foundation related to the Northern Illinois Conference?

The Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization from the Conference.

We receive no funding from the Northern Illinois Conference, and we receive no funding from annual apportionments paid by local churches. The Bishop is an ex-officio member of our Board of Directors, and we have a positive working relationship with conference staff, the Bishop, and Cabinet.

What do you mean by “socially responsible” investment practices?

The United Methodist Church has adopted a policy within its Social Principles. It is reviewed by General Conference every four years. Our Social Principles prohibit us from investing in companies that have significant business dealings with alcohol, tobacco, pornography, weapons development, etc. The Social Principles also prohibit investments with businesses, municipalities or governments where human rights practices are in question.

What is a Charitable Gift Annuity?

This is an agreement between and individual (and one other person, like a spouse) and the Foundation by which the donor(s) makes a charitable gift to a local church or church-related agency. In return, the annuitant(s) receives a guaranteed and fixed amount of income annually for their lifetime. When the last annuitant dies, the remainder in the Charitable Gift Annuity is given to the local church or agency that was designated. There are tax benefits for the donor as well as a life-long income stream.

Why do I need a will?
So you can make my own decisions about:

  • Who will receive your assets
  • How your assets can be used
  • Who will care for your minor children
  • Who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes regarding my estate
  • Providing gifts to the church and other charities.

And if you don’t write a will, the State has written one for you!

What information do I need to make a gift to the church through my will or trust?

Be sure you know the full, legal name of your church and the town or city in which it resides. Then you should consider whether you want to leave a certain dollar amount, or you might  choose to leave a percentage of your estate. Or, you may wish to leave a specific asset to the church. Your attorney can assist with the merits or any cautions to the type of bequest you choose. See this page on our Planned Giving website for more information.

Isn’t estate planning only for the “rich?”

No! Anyone who has accumulated assets should do estate planning. It is the only way you can ensure that your assets go to those you intend, including family, friends, your church and other favorite charities. Careful estate planning can save on costs and time of settling your affairs. And it often saves on taxes, leaving more for your beneficiaries.

Can I leave a gift to the church without changing my will or trust?
Yes. Certain assets, like life insurance policies or retirement accounts, can be given by changing the beneficiary designation. Charitable gift annuities can be established without a change to your will or trust. As always, we urge you to consult your attorney, accountant, or financial planner before finalizing any charitable gift.