By Michael Hollingshead
Got a buck? How about $313 million? Making donations to the Church is made simple through the services of LDS Foundation.
“Our responsibility is to encourage and to facilitate all philanthropic gifts to the Church and all its charitable institutions,” said Barry Preator, director of donor services of LDS Foundation. “But we have nothing to do with tithing or fast offerings.”
President Spencer W. Kimball organized LDS Foundation in 1982 to deal with all philanthropic gifts to the Church. Prior to its founding, the operations of LDS Foundation took place within three different departments. Initially donations were run through BYU Development, then Church Education Development, and finally through the Development Office of the Church.
Preator said the focus of the foundation lies on two words: encourage and facilitate.
LDS Foundation has branches located at each Church-owned school. In addition to BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii and LDS Business College all have their own separate development departments, but they are all part of the same institution.
“BYU-Provo is the largest hub for receiving donations, but all the universities are set up to do the same things,” Preator said. “Finding a way to give is as easy as jumping on the Web site.”
To better facilitate potential donors, the LDS Foundation has developed a comprehensive Web site that guides those interested through the donation options.
If a person wants to make a contribution to the PEF, they can get on the main Church Web site, www.lds.org, click on the “other resources” link and follow the links to the LDS Foundation homepage.
The Web site contains roughly 300 pages of content, with iterations that bring that total to nearly 900 pages. Preator also said they have over 1200 unique URLs.
Those interested in donating have many different options. Donors can either give to the Church Educational System, which includes the four Church-owned schools, or to Special Church Programs. The four special church programs are the Perpetual Education Fund, humanitarian aid, temple work and missionary labor.
The LDS Foundation works closely with Elder John K. Carmack, managing director of the PEF.
“Elder Carmack is always there to thank donors and encourage people to give,” Preator said.
Although LDS Foundation is the main institution structured to process donations, people can still make donations through their donation slip in sacrament meeting. These donations do not go through LDS Foundation.
“We are making good progress,” Preator said. “Always, more is needed and encouraged. It”s likely that the need will continue in the future.”
Students who run into BYU Development offices on campus may find some similarities with LDS Foundation.
“We”re responsible for all gifts to BYU institutions,” Preator said. “BYU development and LDS Foundation are one in the same thing.”