You can read the survey results update here.

The Union Church of Hinsdale

Proposed Endowment Fund Appeal
“Making a Holy Difference”

Information Meetings

Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 11:15 am (Sanctuary)
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm (Youth Room)

Please complete the survey at:

Thank You!

Dear People of Union Church,

Late last year, I visited one of our long-term members who was no longer very mobile. Union Church had been an important part of her life for several decades. By “Union Church” she primarily meant the people, not the pastor or the building or the worship, etc. She knew she was nearing the end of her life, and she wanted to mention to me that she was leaving part of her estate to the church, through our endowment. She said, “It’s not much, but it comes from the heart, because Union Church has been so dear to me.” After she died we received the gift and I thought of Jesus giving praise to the woman who gave her “widow’s mite,” along with her heart. Such generosity is inspiring.

Because of people like this member, we are blessed with an already sizeable endowment that helps us carry on the ministry and mission of Union Church. We are now considering an effort to significantly increase the size of the endowment by inviting members to give in various ways. This booklet is an attempt to explain what an increase in the size of the endowment could mean for our church and our mission, and to get your feedback about this possibility.

As you will see in what follows, we are considering several uses for an expanded endowment: additional support for the current life of our church, a large increase in our local giving for others, a large increase in our global giving for others, and a fund to take care of large future expenses related to our aging building or other projects.

Growing our endowment would allow our members to extend their generosity into the future. Evidence shows that endowments do not take away from current giving, but give congregations the stability needed to be creative and even courageous. I believe this is a good time for Union Church to consider this important work.

The Executive Council, Trustees, and Endowment Ministry have all approved this exploration process, and the feedback we receive from the congregation will determine whether we move forward with a focused endowment growth campaign. We look forward to hearing from many of you!


Mike Solberg, Sr. Pastor

Union Church’s Endowment

Through the generosity of members over the years, our Endowment Fund has grown to approximately $5 million dollars. Long-time member Irv Clarke helped to start this fund in 1980 to fulfill his father’s final pledge to the church. The largest contribution of $2 million dollars was provided by the will of Ms. Lee Smithwick several years ago.

A Ministry of seven members, elected by the congregation, oversees the investments of the Fund, which consists of both designated and undesignated funds. As outlined by Endowment Ministry policy, 5% of the Fund’s market value (averaged over three years) is given to the church’s operating budget as an annual income item. The congregation then approves the annual budget, thus determining the use of income from the endowment.

In the last 3 years about $177,000 per year has been used from the Endowment Fund for the operating budget of the Church. This is 14% of the Church’s operating budget.  This has been a great blessing to our congregation, allowing for a strong annual operating budget which supports all aspects of the ministry of Union Church.

Expanding the Endowment

Congregational leaders propose expanding the Endowment Fund from $5 million to at least $15 million. The increased earnings from the expanded Endowment Fund would be used to:

  • Revitalize and improve church facilities through repairs, expansions or acquisitions;
  • Support the operating budget more robustly;
  • Expand our global and local mission outreach including, but not limited to, financial support for the “Before We Get to Mars” project.

The Endowment Fund is a means to ensure that the unique strength, community and spirit of Union Church lives for another 150 years or more (on Earth, or perhaps on Mars).

At Endowment Value Of… Potential Yearly Church Income Is…
$5 million $199,000
$10 million $398,000
$15 million $597,000


Endowment Fund Appeal

The Executive Council is considering an Endowment Fund Appeal to expand the endowment. This consensus process and the results of the enclosed survey will determine whether the congregation is supportive of such an effort.

If an appeal is conducted, members and friends of the congregation will be asked to pray and consider one of three types of gifts:

  • Three-year Pledge – cash, stocks, real estate and/or insurance given over a three-year period to the Endowment Fund Appeal.
  • Charitable Remainder Trust – an asset owned by the Union Church Endowment Fund, but the earnings go to the donors until the time the donors decide they no longer need the earnings or at the time of their death.
  • Bequest – a designated amount or percentage of a donor’s estate that would come to the Union Church Endowment Fund upon the death of the donor.

The Executive Council has engaged The James Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to guide this assessment process to determine if the congregation is supportive of our Appeal. The James Company has worked with over 1,700 congregations in the past 35 years, helping them raise over $1.1 billion. Bob Connolly, one of The James Company owners, is working with us.

The last significant fundraising appeal conducted at Union Church was in 2002.  It raised $9 million to expand and renovate our church facility.

Next Steps

An Opinion Survey Form is included in this booklet.  Congregational members are asked to return your surveys by Sunday, February 18th.  Surveys can be brought to church, returned by mail or completed online at:

Mr. Connolly will prepare a report for the Executive Council based on the results of this consensus process.

If you have questions, contact a member of the Consensus Process Team:

NAME                                                  EMAIL

Irving Clarke                         
Don Gralen                           
David Hess                           
Sharon Olsen                       
Micaela Saviano                   
The Rev. J Michael Solberg



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