You can establish an endowment or contribute to an existing endowment to provide permanent support of Discovery Center work important to you. An endowment is a gift that is invested for long term growth and earnings. The earnings permit annual distributions that are directed each year to whatever aspect of Discovery Center you have named in your endowment. Endowments can be set up to support any activity within the mission of the Discovery Center.

As an endowment donor, you may direct that the annual distribution from your endowment be used

  • nature education
  • citizen science
  • the NLDC’s lakes monitoring program
  • bringing inner city youth to the Discovery Center for residential programs
  • trail building and maintenance
  • improvements to our campus
  • support of our annual intern program, teaching and training Wisconsin’s future naturalists
  • our “travelling naturalist” program
  • nature education in local schools
  • canoe and kayak training….
  • Or a hundred other purposes within the NLDC mission

The options are limitless. What a wonderful opportunity to fund work of special significance to you or to a loved one.

Management of NLDC Endowments-- Our Endowments are managed by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin https://www.wisconservation.org/ , a Wisconsin nonprofit specializing in providing support to Wisconsin based nature and conservancy non-profits. The NRF manages over 100 endowments for the NLDC and many other Wisconsin based conservancy non-profits. The NRF provides professional management, economies of scale, and independence not available to the NLDC were it to manage its own endowments. You can be assured that your endowment will receive financial management from true professionals working within a Wisconsin conservancy non-profit wholly ndependent of the NLDC. This leaves NLDC staff free to do what we do best… nature-based education and services.

Distributions from NLDC Endowments-- Starting a year after your endowment is established, the endowment will generate an annual distribution of about 4.5%, all of which will be directed to the purpose you have selected. The NLDC will provide you an annual statement specifying the amount of that year’s distribution, the purpose to which it was applied and the current value of your endowment.

Amount necessary to establish a named endowment-- The amount necessary to establish a named endowment is $15,000. This amount is set by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, which manages endowments for the NLDC.

How can endowments be funded-- Endowments can be funded by gift of cash, appreciated securities or most any other asset that can be received by the NLDC and converted to cash.

Can an endowment be structured to be “Donor Advised”? Yes. Some donors like to be able to direct each year’s endowment distribution to a specific purpose, that the donor may vary from year to year. We are delighted to accommodate this and will contact the donor each year and receive their instructions regarding how the distribution is to be applied. Such endowments have a minimum funding requirement of $40,000.

“Acorn Funds”—An opportunity for you to establish an endowment by making contributions over a period of time. If you would like to establish an endowment through funding over a period of months or years, we would be delighted to work with you to set up an “Acorn Fund.” An account would be set up with the NLDC and your contributions maintained until the reach the level necessary to allow us to place an endowment with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.

If you would be interested in learning more about establishing an endowment or contributing to an existing endowment, please contact our Executive Director John Heusinkveld at (715)543-2085 / john@discoverycenter.net.

Click here for FAQs regarding Endowments

Click here for a sample NLDC Endowment Agreement