A volunteer and a student working together at Minds Matter

Nonprofit Invests in their Future through Endowment Building

For many nonprofits, an endowment fund can provide a reliable source of funding, relieving financial pressures and allowing more time to focus on the organization’s mission. Rose Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Endowment Cohort (NEC) provides training, coaching and a financial match to help organizations launch an endowment fund and build the capacity to grow the fund over time. 

Minds Matter Colorado connects driven and determined students from low-income families with the tools needed to succeed in college and create their future. Their programming combines three years of mentorship with committed volunteers, weekly college-prep instruction and access to summer programs at colleges across the country. As a result, 100 percent of Minds Matter graduates complete high school on time and are accepted to four-year colleges and universities with scholarships. After participating in the 2021-22 NEC cohort and opening an endowment fund at Rose Community Foundation, Minds Matter received a $500,000 gift and a $500,000 match to their endowment fund. 

The substantial gift came from the Choksi family who have been part of the Minds Matter community since the organization’s inception. “A member of the Choksi family was one of our founders and they’ve been supporters and ambassadors of Minds Matter since 2004,” says Kate Brenan, chief executive officer of Minds Matter Colorado.  

“The family was thinking about how to ensure the legacy of their long-term involvement with us through the growth and sustainability of Minds Matter, which is why they approached us about helping to seed an endowment.” 

While a gift of this size is undoubtedly beneficial to an organization’s mission, many small nonprofits are unequipped with the resources and expertise needed to accept large gifts adequately and efficiently. During their time in the NEC, Minds Matter received training on the solicitation, marketing and stewardship of endowment and legacy gifts. 

“The cohort definitely helped me have the confidence around the language to use and the right questions to ask,” says Kate. “We used a template from our NEC training to put together the agreement between us and the Choksi family to ensure clarity about the intent and spirit of their contribution.” 

Through cultivating their endowment, Minds Matter hopes to ensure that their organization is around for years to come to serve as many Colorado students as possible. “We are working with high school students who are driven and determined and happen to come from lower-income families,” says Kate. “By having an endowment that grows over time, we want to have a sustainable revenue stream that gives us the confidence to say yes to working with more students as the years go by.” 

Since the Choksi family’s initial contribution, Minds Matter has seen an increase in gifts to their endowment. A former Minds Matter board member pledged $30,000 over two years, representing that family’s largest contribution to the organization. Their experience in the NEC has also equipped Minds Matter with the ability to accept a wider variety of gifts. “We recently had the first gift of stock in the history of our organization and our partnership with Rose Community Foundation allows us to accept gifts that we weren’t able to receive previously,” says Kate. “This has translated to us not only behaving, but being perceived as, a more mature organization.”  

Beyond financial contributions, Kate emphasizes that contributions of time can be just as important as money in ensuring a nonprofit’s long-term success—especially for organizations like Minds Matter which is 98 percent volunteer-run.   

“The heart and soul of this community is through taking the time, talent and energy of folks who believe in what we do and creating sustainable opportunities for them to have a phenomenal impact on the lives of young people,” says Kate. “Beyond the treasure that people so generously offer our community, we are so grateful for the time and talent they bring as well.” 

Learn more about Endowment Building Pathways offered through Rose Community Foundation. For organizations interested in learning more about endowment funds, please contact Amelia Fink.

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