In the final installment of the blog series on the NFA’s financial realities, I’d like to share some details about the NFA endowment. These are donated funds that are invested in designated endowments where they derive investment income that can later be used for programs and initiatives that further the mission of the NFA. A minimum investment (which is currently $25,000) is required to set up an endowment fund at the NFA. After the fund is established, additional funds may be added by donors who allocate their gift to a particular fund at the time of their donation.
The current NFA endowment funds are:
The Mary H. Anderson Endowment
The Myrna Brown Endowment
The David Hart Endowment
The Frances Blaisdell Endowment
The General Endowment
The combined value of these funds is $2,355,826. The four named funds, numbers 1-4, have a combined value of $315,658. The General Endowment, number 5, has a value of $2,040,168.
The funds are invested in accordance with a detailed endowment policy, which is included in the NFA’s bylaws (the legal framework of the NFA), with oversight of the NFA Finance Committee. No more than 4% of the total market value of the endowment funds can be drawn out in any year.
For all the endowment funds, there are restrictions on how the funds that are drawn out can be utilized. For the first four endowment funds on the list above, the funds are designated for specific purposes, often related to the interest and commitment of the person for whom the fund is named. For example, the Frances Blaisdell Endowment supports the Frances Blaisdell Convention Scholarship, named for the pioneering pedagogue and flutist, providing financial assistance to a U.S. student to attend the NFA convention. In the years during which conventions were cancelled, funds were provided for flute education purposes instead.
Use of the general endowment is determined by the NFA board in accordance with the NFA Financial Policies and Procedures. The stated purpose of the endowment is to further the mission of the NFA; it may be used for such initiatives as providing scholarship funds, commissioning new works, and supporting cultural and diversity outreach.
A mechanism is in place whereby NFA committees and the program chair can submit an application to use the funds for NFA initiatives. Application deadlines are January 15 and July 15 each year. This process was suspended in recent years due to the NFA’s need to use the funds for emergency operational needs. In 2019, this suspension was due to the NFA not meeting the convention hotel room block, incurring $80,000+ in fines, and in 2020 and 2021, it was the result of losing 40% of projected income due to COVID-19. Once the NFA recovers from these recent financial setbacks, the application process will be restored and announced. The Endowment Grant Application Guidelines and Form document is available on the NFA website in the appointees’ portal.
The NFA endowment funds have been created over the course of many years by flutists who feel passionate about the NFA and the flute community. In creating these funds, they have honored the contributions of others to the field and supported future generations of flutists. The impact of these funds on creative projects and education and diversity initiatives is deeply felt, and having a financial cushion during recent years has been of immeasurable benefit. Much gratitude to all those who have contributed—and continue to support—these funds for the benefit of the NFA community, and to those who have provided oversight over many decades.