Frequently Asked Questions
What is the LOPC Foundation?
The Foundation is a tax-exempt Section 501 (c)(3) organization established in 1993 to provide financial support for Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church ministries and facilities. The Foundation receives gifts from donors, invests those donor gifts and makes available a prudent portion of gift assets annually to LOPC.
How large is the Foundation?
At yearend 2020, invested gift net assets totaled about $10.6 million. The value of invested assets changes with the receipt of gifts, financial market fluctuations and grant reimbursements to the church.
What does the Foundation do with its funds?
Foundation funds may be used only to support LOPC ministries and facilities on behalf of Foundation donors. That financial support is used to expand LOPC’s mission outreach, to support vibrant, ongoing, as well as new ministries, to maintain LOPC buildings and campus.
How is the money invested?
Trustees of the Foundation rely on Schultz Collins Inc., an investment advisory firm, to advise regarding investment of gift assets. A prudent investment philosophy is followed: diversification through a wide range of mutual and ETF funds, to balance risk, return and preservation of donors’ capital for the long term. Over the past 10 years, invested gift assets have earned an 8% return. About one-third of gift assets are invested in funds that focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.
How are Foundation funds used by LOPC?
A portion of gift assets is disbursed to the church annually, usually about 4%, so that invested assets can grow over time.
About half of gift assets are funds that are donor restricted, may be spent only on facilities, including everything from engineering studies, to phones, copiers and computers, to parking lot repairs and the Sanctuary seismic project. The other half of gift assets are held in funds available to support ministries of LOPC, other than facilities, including staff salaries. This includes the ministry areas covered by Session teams. Trustee designated endowments established by trustees may be used only for a particular ministry purpose, such as Youth, Thursday Fellowship, Deacons, etc. Donor endowments and trustee designated endowments restricted for a particular purpose may be spent only for that purpose.
Who serves on the Foundation Board and how are the trustees chosen?
Nine trustees, nominated by the Congregation Nominating Committee, are elected by the Congregation. Trustees are elected for an initial 4-year term with the possibility of re-election for an additional 3-year term. At that point the Trustee must take at least one year off before being eligible to serve a final 2-year term, for a total of nine years, the maximum allowed for any given person. Trustee resignation vacancies are filled by the Board.
Who are the current Trustees?
Staci Johnston, President
Kristi Haigh, Vice President
Dara Youngdale, Secretary
Phil Placier, Treasurer
Jim Beckemeyer, Assistant Treasurer
When does the Foundation know what will be available for church use?
The Foundation operates on a fiscal year, Oct 1-Sept 30, while the church operates on a calendar year. The Foundation notifies the church in October of the amount of invested gift assets available for grants for the coming fiscal year, based on 4% of a trailing 12 quarters average of the asset value of each endowment fund, plus the amount of invested assets available from the Facilities Reserve Account for facility project grants. Money for grant reimbursements remains invested until grant expenses have been incurred and the church requests reimbursement.
What is the process for applying for grants from the Foundation?
There are two categories of grants: grants for church operating budget expenses, grants for facilities project expenses. Grant requests come to the Foundation after approval by Session, or Deacons. Money appropriated annually by trustees for the church operating budget is included as revenue in the budget adopted by Session in January. Session then approves grant requests specifying particular expenses in the approved operating budget, and trustees approve those grant requests. Trustees annually appropriate the amount of gift assets available for facilities projects. Grant requests for projects are approved after approval by Session. Grant expenses are reimbursed after expenses are incurred and reimbursement is requested.
What is the Foundation doing with the large bequest received by the Foundation?
A generous bequest of just over $5 million arrived in increments in 2015-2016 from the estate of Craig and Jean Gregerson. The bequest was designated an endowment restricted to use for facilities and building equipment. Trustees invested the money in a separate portfolio along with endowments previously restricted to this same use – from Holman, Christy and others. Trustees draw on these donor endowments, as allowed by California law, to meet facility needs of the church. One use is to support annual operating budget expenses for facilities. A second is to build up a facilities reserve account to cover Reserve Study project expenses over the next 30 years [see question about – What is the Reserve Study?] and to cover the expenses of unexpected facility projects.
What is the reserve study?
In 2012, Session retained a consultant to prepare a Reserve Study Report that identifies hundreds of campus building components that need to be maintained, repaired or replaced over the next 30 years. The study was based on component useful life, remaining life projections, industry maintenance standards and on information provided by LOPC staff. Receipt in 2015-2016 of the Gregerson endowment for facilities maintenance and knowledge that the Sanctuary Seismic upgrade project was underway, resulted in an update in 2016 of the earlier Reserve Study Report. Trustees hope that within the next few years, Foundation gift assets will be available to fund most of the Reserve Study projects which will relieve the LOPC annual budget from uneven draws and will ensure that needed facilities maintenance isn’t deferred.
How does the Foundation portfolio grow? How do I become a Friend of the Foundation?
Foundation gift assets grow in two ways.
- The first way is through receipt of gifts from members and friends of LOPC. Memorial gifts are received regularly. Outright gifts are received. Donors provide for the LOPC Foundation in their estate plan wills and trusts, specifying a set amount or a percentage of their estate to the Foundation. Legacy donors are asked to complete a simple form stating an intent to make a legacy gift to the Foundation. Donors who have made outright gifts to the Foundation or have informed a Trustee of an intent to make a legacy gift become “Friends of the LOPC Foundation”. All trustees are Friends of the LOPC Foundation affirming this intent. Others become Friends by designating life insurance policies or IRA’s to the Foundation. There are many ways to give. Trustees would be glad to talk about gift opportunities.
- A second way Foundation gift assets grow is portfolio investment returns which have been 8% per year over the past 10 years. Trustees try to balance growth of the value of portfolios to meet the future needs of the church with meeting the current needs of the church and its mission in the world.
Who can give to the Foundation?
Anyone! Over the past 25+ years, church members and friends have given gifts large and small, outright gifts and legacy gifts, to further God’s work now and in the indefinite future in support of LOPC and its many-faceted ministries.
Why give a legacy gift to the Foundation?
- To contribute to LOPC’s having sufficient financial support to enhance and expand its ministries and maintain its facilities for the long-term future.
- To follow Jesus’s teachings and bear witness to how you have valued LOPC, its pastors, staff and ministries, and want LOPC to thrive for future generations.
- To return some of the gifts with which God has blessed you to those who will be served by LOPC’s ministries.
- To set an example of your long-term, faith-based giving for family and friends.
What kind of gift can I make to the Foundation?
Cash gifts are given as direct gifts, or in honor of, or in memory of someone. Bequests through a will or trust, as a specific amount or as a percentage, are the most frequent way. There are also gifts through retirement plans and life insurance policies with the Foundation designated as the beneficiary.
Some donors choose to make gifts of appreciated stock that has an income tax advantage. The Foundation has an arrangement with the church for stock gifts to be given to the Foundation through the church’s Charles Schwab account. It is important Foundation Treasurer Phil Placier is notified at the time a stock transfer is made to ensure that the church accountant transfers the amount of the stock gift to the Foundation.
A gift of your residence or other real estate may be given.
Contact any Trustee for additional information, and consult your own advisors.
Can I designate how my gift is to be used?
Most donors elect to give undesignated gifts that affords trustees discretion to determine how to meet the church’s most pressing future needs that change over time, as determined by Session. Donors may designate how a gift will be used.
Donors may establish an endowment for a particular purpose that lasts indefinitely. Endowments are governed by California law, are normally larger gifts, are subject to trustees’ guidelines. Eleven donor endowments have been established for a particular church ministry purpose. Contact any trustee for additional information.
Will my gift be taxed?
LOPC Foundation is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Assets given to the Foundation are not included in your estate for tax purposes. Designating the Foundation as beneficiary of IRA assets avoids the tax that otherwise could reduce the pass-through to non-charity beneficiaries.
What is the Foundation Tax ID number?