An unrestricted endowment is one of the best tools to prepare a Greater Nebraska ( hometown for whatever lies beyond the horizon. Consider it like a retirement account that generates investment income for a community year after year. That “unrestricted” part is key—it means it isn’t designated for any specific use or project, making it a source of funding for whatever dreams residents can imagine. Because the principal remains untouched, it grows with every gift—and so does the annual payout. The volunteers overseeing an unrestricted endowment account (known as a fund advisory committee in the NCF network) have the freedom to spend the funds in ways that they determine will fulfill its mission. That flexibility allows hometowns to maximize their community-building efforts.

Unrestricted endowments held by NCF community-based affiliated funds (CBAFs) now total $67 million, double the total five years ago. Today, 50 CBAFs have payout of at least $10,000 per year—a milestone at which affiliated funds can really be catalysts for growth. Sixteen CBAFs now have payout of at least $50,000 per year. Throughout the NCF network, affiliated funds use their payout for a variety of purposes, whether it’s starting something new, saving something important or adapting to the future—often all the above.

Furthermore, Nebraska has reached an opportune moment in time to build unrestricted endowments. Nebraska Community Foundation’s 2021 Transfer of Wealth Study, an update of similar studies in 2001 and 2011, found that $950 billion will change hands between generations through the next 50 years. In just a decade, the number is still staggering—$100 billion. If Nebraskans allotted in their estate plans even 5% of that $100 billion for their hometowns, it would mean $5 billion reinvested in Greater Nebraska.

That’s the impetus behind the Five to Thrive campaign. An unrestricted endowment is an ideal home for that 5%, as it will remain in a community for years to come and help generate ever-increasing annual earnings. Learn more at