There are over 22 million veterans in the United States with 658,000 located in Michigan. Of those, Berrien County is home to about 12,000 veterans. While veterans qualify for benefits, many need guidance in transferring the skills learned in the military to civilian life. This may include entrepreneurial training and counseling, mentoring or other assistance.
A second segment of veterans are those who have been discharged from service for a few years and are no longer eligible for certain benefits. As an example, there are approximately 237,000 Vietnam veterans and 156,000 Gulf War veterans. Many of these veterans have lost their jobs or are underemployed and need training to secure new jobs. This fund could help provide the training necessary to put them back into the workforce.
The beauty of the endowment concept is knowing that the needs of veterans may change over time. The fund is built to be flexible enough to stand the test of time and meet the changing needs of our community’s veterans.
Why an Endowment Fund?
We know that there will always be a need to support our veterans as they return from service. While we may not know the exact need, we do know it is our responsibility to care for those who served. An endowment fund is a permanent fund that will provide income each year to support this need.
The heart, or corpus, of the fund is never spent. The interest and earnings generated are used to provide annual grants to support Berrien County veterans for generations to come.
What Will This Endowment Support?
The Veterans Support Endowment for All Who Served was originated by the Korean Veterans of Southwest Michigan as a way to support non-profit programs and agencies serving the needs of all Berrien County veterans. Grants will focus on meeting the needs of under- served veterans and providing programs for Berrien County youth to learn about the contributions of veterans.
Examples of support could include:
- employment assistance
- youth programming
- Contests scholarships
How Can You Give?
Endowment gifts take many forms and come in many sizes. The Berrien Community Foundation can provide gift planning assistance and facilitate gifts of all types, including:
- Gifts of non-cash assets such as stock and real estate,
- Bequest gifts through your will or trust,
- Gifts of retirement plan assets,
- Gifts of life insurance.
What is a Bequest?
A bequest is a gift made in a will or trust. Because a bequest is flexible and revocable, it is the most common type of legacy gift. With a gift made in your will to the endowment fund, you can continue your support of our nation’s heroes now and into the future. Following is standard bequest language to include in a will or estate plan.
“I give the sum of $_____ [or state a percentage of the residual estate] to the Veterans Support Endowment for All Who Served held at the Berrien Community Foundation, a Michigan nonprofit and 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.”
The Berrien Community Foundation provides support for a full range of charitable gift planning options and services. Call us at 269-983-3486 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about ways to create your charitable legacy.
Korean War Veterans of Southwest Michigan
Members of the Korean War Veterans (KWV) of Southwest Michigan wanted to be certain that upon the dissolution of their organization, all money in their treasury would be used to assist veterans in need. KWV originated this endowment fund to benefit all veterans in Berrien County with specific unmet needs, particularly those who may not be adequately covered by Veterans Affairs (VA) or other funding programs.
KWV made an initial contribution to this endowment fund and have assumed responsibility to encourage other organizations and individuals to include this endowment in their philanthropic giving as well as their estate planning.