St. Paul’s Outreach Endowment

The Trustees of Funds & Endowments works with various individuals and ministries associated with the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. We’ve been so pleased to be able to highlight some of the ways TFE assists and supports these ministries of love and service in the diocese. Today we’re featuring the Outreach Endowment at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Milwaukee.

An Endowment Fund for Outreach

The St. Paul’s Outreach Endowment was created in December 2001 thanks to the vision and initiative of parish member Jon Barsanti, who was also the driving force behind the growth of TFE in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Jon saw a need for Episcopal parishes and ministries to have a trustworthy way in which to invest their money, and to have a reliable and ongoing source of expertise and ease of investing that wouldn’t be affected by changing vestries, priests, and members.

The St. Paul’s Outreach Endowment was seeded with a gift of $3,000, which was placed in TFE’s Combined Fund. Over the years, with additional contributions and investment growth, that original gift grew to over eighty times its starting balance! On March 31, 2019, it held $249,000.

The Impact of Small but Consistent Gifts

The growth of the St. Paul’s Outreach Endowment is a wonderful example of how small gifts, given consistently to an endowment fund over time, can really add up, providing funds that further the mission of the parish. At St. Paul’s, there is no gift too small! An early initiative for gathering funds for the endowment fund was “Scavengers.” City residents would collect coins they found on their morning walks and contribute them to the endowment fund. (Parish members point out that this was more practical when parking meters took coins!) A similar idea was to collect the coins that accumulated in one’s pockets over the course of everyday life and add them to the endowment fund.

Other fundraising strategies St. Paul’s has used to grow its endowment fund include a “Birthday Club,” in which members contribute some multiple of their age in dollars to celebrate birthdays, a Lenten discipline of donating a multiple of forty, and establishing one month a year as “endowment month” for the parish, encouraging members to give to the Outreach Endowment each May. Gifts of stock have also been contributed to the Outreach Endowment.

Funding a Commitment to Outreach

Like many endowment funds, the St. Paul’s Outreach Endowment has a specific purpose. At St. Paul’s the endowment fund bolsters the parish’s ability to do outreach in the community and the world. Along with St. Paul’s budgeted outreach, the distributions are administered by an Outreach Committee, which evaluates needs and authorizes grants. These grants address community and Episcopal needs both locally and abroad. For 2019, the Outreach Endowment Fund will provide $10,200 toward St. Paul’s commitment to outreach!

We hope you are inspired by the example of St. Paul’s—it really does show that contributions of any size can help fund ministry, and how an endowment fund can amplify those contributions in the future. If you have questions about how endowment funds can be used to support ministries within and outside your parish, please feel free to contact TFE’s Executive Director, Jill Heller, at (262) 902–5901 or

Thanks to Gerry Mainman for sharing about the St. Paul’s Outreach Endowment! If you’d like to share with us how your parish is using a TFE endowment fund, we’d love to hear from you!

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