Endowment Fund Thrives in Economic Downturn

The stock market is down. Foreclosures are up. Consumer confidence is dismal. In this era of financial turmoil, good news rare—until now, that is.

In May 2007, Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore., celebrated the completion of its Chaplain Endowment Campaign, becoming the first hospital in the nation to have a fully endowed health care chaplain's department.

At the celebration, the campaign committee participated in a special prayer of dedication for the endowment funds. "We thanked God for the many dedicated donors and their gifts to the fund. We asked for wisdom for those making decisions on how the funds were to be invested and we prayed that God would help us be good stewards of what we considered to be sacred gifts," says Wendell White, Generations, LLC chairman and committee leader.

Fast-forward to 2009 and the daily bombardment with information detailing the meltdown of the financial markets, the wild fluctuations of the stock market and reduction of real estate values. There hasn't been much to celebrate.

"Recently a donor asked me how our Chaplain Endowment was faring in light of the country's current financial crisis," says John Korb, executive director of the AMC Foundation. "I shared there had been a change in investment funds and we were required to withdraw our money because the mutual fund we were using was being closed. Based on market volatility of the previous year, and feeling no major push to reinvest the funds, the decision was made to stay out of the market for a while."

"Then the financial crisis hit! As a result of our funds being in ‘cash,' every gift provided to build the endowment has been retained and is still earning interest to help provide chaplain services at Adventist Medical Center. This is something we can celebrate!" adds Korb.

"We believe this is a direct answer to our prayer asking God to protect and preserve these funds," Korb states. "This is even more remarkable when we see news reports that many major endowments across the country have lost 25 to 40 percent of their value in the past year.

"Chaplains lead our employees, medical staff and volunteers in the implementation of our mission to provide whole person care: body, mind and spirit. So in these times of financial stress, we can be joyful knowing that God is in control and leading in our mission of service," continues Korb.

To learn more about the mission at Adventist Medical Center, visit www.adventisthealthnw.com.

May 01, 2009 / Adventist Health
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