Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are generally familiar with the good that is accomplished through tithes and offerings. Less commonly understood, however, is how lives are changed and literally saved through additional philanthropic gifts.
Since 1971, the name of the Church department facilitating these special gifts was LDS Foundation. On Sept. 8, however, the Presiding Bishopric issued a statement announcing that the name has been changed to LDS Philanthropies.
The BYU fundraising area will be known as LDS Philanthropies Brigham Young University.
Currently, LDS Philanthropies employs 112 full-time fundraising professionals, of which 45 are assigned to Brigham Young University’s “Development Office,” as it is commonly referred to in collegiate circles. Besides the full-time staff, LDS Philanthropies BYU employs nearly 100 students on a part-time basis. Bruce Snow, executive director of LDS Philanthropies BYU, works with Advancement Vice President K. Fred Skousen.
Funds contributed to BYU through LDS Philanthropies are used to accelerate the mission of the school. Every student is touched for good in some way by those who generously donate to BYU. In 2004, for example, donors gave more than $77 million to the university through LDS Philanthropies. The money is designated for many purposes, including scholarships, mentored-student learning grants and prioritized enhancements such as the construction of the Joseph F. Smith Building and the new BYU Student Athlete Complex.
LDS Philanthropies is responsible for donations to all Church charitable causes (or “philanthropies”). These include, among others, the four Church educational institutions, Humanitarian Services and the Perpetual Education Fund.
In 1971 the First Presidency determined that there was ample ability and a great desire among Church members in remembering “in all things the poor and the needy” (D&C 52:40). At that time, President Spencer W. Kimball more formally organized what has become LDS Philanthropies.
A basic model of philanthropic organizations was followed to provide an official church department through which Latter-day Saints and others having a desire could donate to Church institutions and programs such as BYU.
Referring all donations, other than tithes and fast offerings, to LDS Philanthropies fulfills the desire of the First Presidency “…to have correlation of these other fundraising efforts.”
According to Bishop Richard C. Edgley, a member of the Presiding Bishopric, the First Presidency of the Church establishes specific priorities for philanthropic contributions to areas within the Church and its institutions. Members are invited to give when their personal circumstances allow for such donations.
While some donations are small and reflect the widow’s mite, others are substantial. But all are appreciated.
“Frankly,” Bishop Edgley adds, “we do find those donations helpful and necessary to do some of the things we are doing. Again, they help accelerate the Lord’s work.”
For more information, call (801) 422-2399.
Writer: Rick Stockton