Endowments: A Way to Give Well Into the Future

A Benson woman's gift is now helping patients here at Johnston Health.

During her lifetime, Benson native Cara Lee Priest was known as a selfless, giving person who liked to save.

After her death in August 2009, her family chose to honor her memory with an endowment through the North Carolina Community Foundation. Because of that gift, Priest is, now and forever, helping to provide services and programs benefitting patients at Johnston Health.

Kemp Mosley, an associate attorney at Narron, O'Hale & Whittington, P.A., in Smithfield, says there are many benefits to endowed charitable gifts. "The grantor is able to truly perpetuate the gift and to define the potential uses," he says. "The principal will always remain intact. The charity will receive perpetual annual benefits. And the endowed gift remains 100 percent tax deductible."

A concern for many donors is how their permanently endowed gift will be managed and invested.

The North Carolina Community Foundation works with investors to make sure their money is invested wisely, says Alison Drain, director of the Johnston Health Foundation.

"They are a fixture in charitable gift management and hold many endowments set up on behalf of nonprofits across the state, including our own Johnston Health Foundation," she says. "Having that expertise and experience gives donors peace of mind, knowing that their money will be kept safe."

Drain points out that Johnston Health faces challenges as it continues to serve uninsured and underinsured patients while also adapting to changes in the health care industry. "An endowment for the hospital can have a huge positive impact if the gift is invested wisely and allowed to grow with donations," she said.

Drain says financial donations can be made directly to the Johnston Health Foundation Endowment or donors can set up new endowments by making a gift or leaving a bequest in their will.

The foundation's page on the Johnston Health website provides language that can be used when making a charitable bequest to the Johnston Health Foundation Endowment.

"Giving money to an endowment is investing in the future of a community," Drain adds. "It's one way to ensure that our children and their children have a better place to live and work."