The Chairman and Trustees of Tusk, with the full support of our Royal Patron, Prince William, in 2008 launched, a targeted appeal to establish a permanent endowment fund for Tusk, to be called the Tusk Foundation. The aim is to gradually build the capital held in this fund to £1m over the next three years and thereafter continue to increase it to £5m. Since the recent launch of this appeal, Trustees have secured donations and pledges worth £400,000.
The thinking behind the endowment fund (the “Fund”) held within the Tusk Foundation is that it should:
- Represent a permanent financial endowment for Tusk;
- Its investment policy should be focused principally on the preservation of capital and the distribution of income only to support the charitable activities of Tusk;
- The initial primary destination of the income should be the financing of the administrative costs of Tusk (including staff costs) within its budget plan approved by the Board.
- The establishment of the endowment fund should not divert donor funds which are raised for the ongoing delivery of financial support for the core day-to-day project needs.
Fundamentally, the concept of building a permanent financial endowment is intended over time to grow to a sufficient size that the income from the Fund would ultimately cover (as its minimum primary objective) the administrative cost base of the charity, thereby allowing all general funds raised from donors to be invested directly into Tusk’s portfolio of projects. Ultimately, the Trustees plan that this form of financial security will ensure the longevity of Tusk and its work beyond the current generation. Depending on the size of the endowment, the Fund may, in time, also be able to support other secondary objectives, such as ongoing programmes supporting the main charitable objectives of Tusk.
Endowment funds are often referred to as the future lifeblood of any charity. Providing for the long-term financial success of Tusk, the Fund will also act as a buffer in times of financial and/or fundraising reversals.
The Fund will act as an appropriate destination vehicle for individuals, and Trustees of grant making trusts, who wish their gifts to be given in perpetuity. The capital of the endowment will remain untouched and managed on extremely cautious and low risk investment strategy, and only the income, except in exceptional circumstances, will be used to underwrite the charity’s administration and ongoing programmes and services.
It is important to note that the endowment fund held within the Tusk Foundation differs from the charity’s reserve funds, where the principal and the income may be expended by the Trustees. The charity’s reserves are held in accordance with the recommended policy of the UK Charity Commissioners.
A Gift that keeps on Giving
An endowment fund is extremely valuable for a charity as it can supply a steady and dependable source of income. It is a timely and responsible initiative by the Trustees to embark on this drive for greater self-sustainability. A contribution towards the Fund is ‘a gift which keeps on giving’ and will also create a lasting testimony.
Since its formation in 1990 Tusk has generated enough revenue each year to finance both its growing number of field programmes and its modest administration. The charity prides itself on its enviable record for investing in the field. Our goal is to build the endowment so that it is large enough to underwrite an average administrative overhead equivalent to 15% of net revenue, and thereby ensure that as close to 100% of what Tusk raises each year may reach the projects.
Support the Tusk Foundation and its endowment fund
If you would like to support the endowment fund held within the Tusk Foundation please contact the charity’s Finance Manager, Sue Prescott via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Tusk office on +44 (0)1747 813 005.
This year's Tusk Conservation Awards are, for me, an opportunity to recognise and to highlight some of the remarkable – and courageous – conservation work being undertaken across Africa.