About the Endowment Fund at First Unitarian

The First Unitarian Church of Des Moines Endowment Fund was created in 1987. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for the church membership to make gifts and bequests to express their lasting appreciation for the blessings and bounty bestowed upon them and for the services, work and influence of the church on community life. Funds are NOT spent on general operations of the church.

The Endowment Fund Bylaws were amended in 2017 to reflect changes since 1987 in the manner in which investments are managed and the way in which annual grants from the Endowment are funded. Management and operation of the fund is handled by a committee of 7 individuals elected for 3-year terms and chosen for their diverse skills as they relate to fund management, promotion and growth. Click here to read the Amended and Restated Bylaws of the Endowment Fund.


In 2011, the committee decided to invest our Endowment Fund monies through the Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund, which practices socially responsible investing. This fund is run by the Unitarian Universalist Association, headquartered in Boston, MA.

Donations to the Endowment Fund may be made in 2 ways:

  1. Current donations:  Click on the  Give On-Line button  above, or submit cash or check (preferred) or other financial instrument to the Director of Finance and AdministrationChecks should be made out to “First Unitarian Church Endowment Fund”The attached form should be completed for all donations and forwarded to the Endowment Committee so that all gifts may be acknowledged and donor records updated. The form will be included in the permanent records of the Fund.  
  1. Donations in a will or trust:  After the will or trust document is completed, inform the DFA, that you are making such a bequest and provide a copy of the relevant document(s). In addition, please advise the Endowment Committee that a legacy gift has been arranged so that it may be acknowledged and the Fund records updated. 

Restrictions: the Endowment does not accept gifts of property. Gifts to the Endowment typically do not restrict the use of that gift for a specific purpose.

Endowment Reporting Form


The Endowment contains a provision for using up to 2% of the value of the fund as of December 31 to fund grants that are awarded on July 1 of the subsequent fiscal year. Since 2008, the Endowment Development Committee has accomplished this task through a program known as REACH (Radical Engagement And Creative Happenings).

REACH Grants

Any member or church group may apply for a REACH grant. Typically REACH grants are used for such things as equipment purchases, educational opportunities for members, and community outreach. The amount of money available for REACH grants varies from year to year. Grant applications are typically sought beginning in April and awards are announced in July. Click here for more information on REACH grant guidelines and the application and awards process.

Click here for REACH Grants awarded from 2008 to the present

Endowment Development Committee Members

Feel free to contact the Endowment Development Committee at endowment@ucdsm.org if you have questions, would like to make a donation OR include the Endowment Fund in a will or trust.

The members for the 2020-2021 fiscal year are:

Robert Vance, Chair (2021)
Lisa Houchins, Secretary (2022)
Deidre Fudge (2023)
Lynn George (2021)
Susan Jellinger (2022)
Nicole Keller (2023)
Jean Rommes (2023)