Local Strategies

For many local Young Life areas and regions, establishing a fund in the Young Life Foundation is a big first step toward realizing their long-term strategic goals. The following are a few examples of how other areas are utilizing the Foundation and working strategically to provide camperships, fund multiethnic work and accomplish just about anything they can dream. We encourage areas to begin a dialogue with the Foundation to explore how creating a fund, to help accomplish your strategic dreams, can begin.

Please contact us​ to discuss creating your own special-purpose foundation fund.


Houston Urban Fund

The Houston Urban Fund was originally established to provide a perpetual fund to help sustain and grow urban ministry in Houston. It was created because the multiethnic communities would never be able to provide all of the support needed to sustain these ministries.

The vision to create an endowment fund was cast by three major donors from Houston. Initially they each contributed $500,000 and the three recommended that Young Life's Houston Region hire a consulting firm that specialized in capital campaigns to complete a feasibility study. The feasibility study was to determine if the endowment campaign was possible, what would be the campaign goals and when was the right time to launch this campaign and ultimately provide a strategic plan for the campaign.

The consulting firm recommended that the market was ready for a campaign with a goal of $10 million. They also recommended Young Life hire a development director to manage and guide this campaign. Results and outcomes from this campaign are as follows:

  • $4.5 million were raised in the first four years of the campaign.
  • Changes in leadership within the Houston Region led to a delay in the campaign and a focus on the general operating fund deficit.
  • Hiring a regional development director for Houston proved to be a successful move. As relationships were developed, the region came out of deficit and stayed out, and development training for staff resulted in healthier areas.
  • Many donors made a 10-year commitment to this campaign which continued to grow even without an active campaign.
  • Phase two of the campaign to complete the $10 million goal is currently under discussion.

The funds are managed by the Young Life Foundation. Guidelines and procedures were created by the Houston Region steering committee. The maximum to distribute was determined to be at 5 percent of the March 31 balance for the next fiscal year. Only Multiethnic areas receive disbursements for the fund. Each Multiethnic​ area receives approximately one-third of their budget (for a one-person area) from the endowment or about $30,000-$35,000. If a Multiethnic area is fiscally sound they might get less. This is based on the judgments of the Multiethnic director and regional director.

The Executive Committee reserves the right to utilize principal as needed. Even so, with input from the staff as to financial needs, the committee will, near the end of each fiscal year, recommend an amount (if any) to be transferred from the Endowment for general corporate purposes in the forthcoming year. The amount will generally be calculated as a percent of the net assets of the fund at current values.

Expending any amount in excess of 5 percent of the net value of the Endowment calculated as of March 31 of the current calendar year in any one fiscal year, will require a steering committee recommendation and an affirmative vote of 75 percent of the entire committee then serving.

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Blount County Campership Fund

The fund was started when a committed donor and friend of Young Life passed away and expressed in her will that $40,000 be given to Blount County to be used as needed without restrictions. The committee determined that the area would only apply the interest from these funds to help with camp scholarships. They also determined that if the area was ever in deficit, the funds could also be used in this "emergency" situation. There are no written policies or bylaws.

There are no plans to grow this fund at this time. The area has never been in deficit so they have only used the funds for camp scholarships which have been very beneficial in getting kids to camp.

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International South Matching Funds

The original purpose of the fund was to provide matching funds for projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The fund matches dollars raised by areas that have created indigenous programs run by the local people in that community. The long-term goal is to begin to shift the dependency on funding from outside the community to inside, thus promoting dignity within from local giving and fundraising. In one country, this means matching local giving one to one. In another, for example, it might be the "Young Life chicken farm" where chickens are raised and sold within the community. Outside buyers can purchase these chickens and give them back to the people within the area who can't afford to buy them. Any proceeds raised from local donors are eligible to be matched by funds from this fund.

The initial $1 million investment was given by one donor in 2006. The division plans to raise more funds for this matching fund. The plan is to grow this fund to $3 million and give away matching funds for three years across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The recipients of these funds are determined by agreement with local Young Life directors, regional directors and the senior vice president. Countries that have received funding through this program are Costa Rica, Peru, Tanzania and Mongolia.

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North LA County Strategic Growth Fund

This fund was created from a generous bequest of a personal residence to a Young Life area. The area sold the house, and it netted $200,000. The area has used this fund as an emergency fund and uses funds from this account strategically.

The area staff and local committee have begun the process of investigating the possible launch of a fund-raising effort to increase the size and scope of this fund. In the words of the area director, "After being in L.A. for more than seven years now, I have come to the conclusion that it is simply going to take too long to establish Young Life in all the places we want to be. God has given me a vision for raising additional funds to help us get to the next school sooner rather than later."

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Lee County Area Endowment Fund

The original purpose of the fund was to provide scholarships for youth to attend summer camp. It was created when a donor purchased a life insurance policy through Young Life and designated the funds to go to camp scholarships in the Ft. Myers area. This donor paid the premiums on the policy to Young Life. When the donor passed away the area received the money from the policy, and the surviving spouse removed the restriction designating the money to only go to camp scholarships.

The area director and the area committee determine how the funds are to be used. There is no written formal policy but an "“unwritten" one that the principal is not used, only the interest. In the past few years monthly withdrawals have been made due to an effort to rebuild the area. The funds are used to train new staff and partially support a Multiethnic area.

The area plans to begin a yearlong planned giving campaign to grow this fund to $1.5 million. The majority of the population in this area is retired couples who are not motivated to give a one-time cash gift but are interested in giving through a bequest upon death.

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