Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Frequently Asked Questions

Lady Bugs – Don Chapman
Lady Bugs – Don Chapman


Q: Why is UC MMG starting an Opportunity Fund endowment?
A: Well managed non-profits are conservatively run financially, do not run deficits, keep emergency operating funds on hand in case of shortfalls, carry no debt, and have endowments for insuring long term success. UC MMG is following this path with the Opportunity Fund to further insure our ability to respond to future challenges and opportunities as an organization.

Q: Why should members donate to the Opportunity Fund endowment?
A: We ask members to remember Master Gardeners in their annual giving plans. It is a way of giving back to the UC Master Gardeners of the future. The Opportunity Fund will help Master Gardeners address future challenges and opportunities.

Q: Is it mandatory for members to give to the Opportunity Fund?
A: No. It is completely voluntary. Members who choose to donate may elect to do so anonymously or to be named on the annual Opportunity Fund donor list. All donations, regardless of size, are deeply appreciated.

Q: Can the payouts from the fund be used for future programs and capital purposes?
A: Payouts may only be used for programs.

Q: Can the Opportunity Fund be built from excess operating funds and gifts – or just gifts?
A: Currently the fund is being built with both gifts and excess operating funds. In the future, it will be funded with Gifts only.

Q: Can funds be accumulated, not drawn down 4.2% annually, and then used for larger cost projects?
A: No. Starting June-July 2019, UC MMG will start receiving annual payouts.

Q: If a revenue emergency occurs, how long will it take to access the funds?
A: The UC MMG Board of Directors, working with the UCCE Marin County Director, may request a payout of the principle in the case of failing revenues and other critical needs. In this case, the request is prepared and provided to UC ANR Vice President and UCOP Advancement Services for approval. The UC MMG Board of Directors may request funds once a year in March-April. This request will be reviewed and, if approved, the funds will be distributed by June 30 of the same year.

Q: How does the UC MMG Board of Directors decide how much money to transfer to the Fund, and when and for what purposes to draw down funds?
A: Starting in 2019 there will be an annual payout to the UC MMG operating account of 4.2% of the fund’s balance. The UC MMG Board of Directors will guide the use of the annual payout to support UC MMG programs. This will be done under the general direction of the UCCE Marin County Director.

Q: How is the draw down amount calculated?
A: The Opportunity Fund plan components include: 1) the investment amount; 2) the interest, or annual income from the investment based on the market rate of return, and 3) an annual payout amount of 4.2% of the principal balance.

The principal balance used to calculate the payout rate is the average account balance from the last five years (framed as a 60-month rolling average). If the account is less than five years old, the average is based on the number of years for which there was a balance.

Webmaster Email: banielsen@ucanr.edu