Follen’s Endowment: Parts 1,2, & 3

Conversations with Legacy Society Members

This fall we sat down with a few members of the Legacy Society and asked them why they will be  to donating to Follen after they die. Here is a little bit of what they had to say:

I asked Maggie Herzig, Legacy Society member, why she is donating to the Follen Endowment in her will, and she replied, “When we entered Follen in late/mid 80s, it was there for us.  It had a roof. It had a steeple. It had that beautiful Charles Follen quote in the vestibule. It had a well-functioning leadership. It had programs, it had life.  When you drove by that building at night, the lights were always on, because somebody was working on something: giving lots and lots of volunteer hours. It was a vibrant community. If people before us had never made a legacy gift, who knows what state it would be in?”

Jim Herzig, also a Follen Legacy Society member, was philosophical when asked about his decision to donate:” As a person who is trying to live an intentional life, I do think about how I am spending my time during my life and also what kind of memory or kind of legacy will I leave. I think the reason why I have loved Follen – and why I want to support Follen- both here and hereafter- is a desire to get close to, as Lincoln said, my better angels.”

And we also asked, What do you value about this faith community?

Alice Dunn told us that she values Follen because “it is a place that puts its values first. We have absolutely stood up in this time of pandemic and all this hate that we have seen, we have stood up on the side of love.” Her spouse Gordon added, “ What I value most about Follen is the kindness, the friendship, the idea that we are here to be good to each other and to care for each other.  That really shows!”

I agree that the kindness really shows. So many helpful people in this community, eager to provide meals, rides, visits, loan a book, teach you how to knit, or discuss antiracism with you.  There are many reasons why so many people love this church community, and those are the reasons that inspire me to help keep our church financially strong into the future.

Earlier this week you should have received a letter from Follen and a brochure describing the purpose of the church endowment and a variety of ways to contribute.  The beautiful brochure was edited and designed by Meg Muckenhoupt, with text by me.  Meg also made the video here, that we hope you will enjoy. Cas Groblewski has been the historical memory person and liaison to our financial team, FHRAT.

There are many ways to contribute financially. One way we are asking folks to consider is a legacy gift to the Follen endowment.  “Legacy” means that this gift is made from your estate after you pass away. It’s something you can do now that will survive you. It’s a good deed that you can recall with pleasure for the rest of your life. All gifts are welcome, no matter the size. 

Please contact our team at with questions or comments.


Robin Tartaglia

Part 2

A decade ago, several people at Follen Church wondered what it would take to make a fully accessible building. Because our beautiful octagon was built in 1839 and has had many changes and remodels since then, there were multiple floor levels within the building. Many people helped to envision, plan, design, and fund raise so that the vision of a fully accessible church could be achieved. Along the way, we air-conditioned staff offices, built fully accessible bathrooms, upgraded the heating and electrical systems, and resolved major water drainage problems around the building’s perimeter.

Our Capital Campaign committee did a brilliant job of fundraising and grant writing. There was also some critical major financial support from the Follen endowment—the investments we use to generate income and secure the future.

Income from our endowment helps with the annual budget. Named funds enrich and sustain our H & G Hook 1847 organ, our music, religious education, and pastoral care programs. And the endowment fund is there for emergencies and special situations.

Over many decades, forward-thinking Follenites have donated to the church endowment because of a deep desire to fund the church well into the future. Most gifts are legacies, planned for in life, and donated after death.

If you value the life and spirit of Follen Church, the loving community support for families, the enriching worship and music, and the welcoming acceptance of all, you should consider a legacy gift to the Follen endowment. There are a variety of ways to make this happen. In one week we shall begin an Endowment Growth Campaign and will mail you information that describes the basic ways to do this.

If you have any questions about donating to the Follen endowment, please send an email to

Robin Tartaglia

Part 1

Let’s talk about the Follen Church endowment.

Does it grow? What is its purpose?

Our endowment is a pool of funds managed by three Follenites (trustees) and invested with Fidelity Investments. Its purpose is to sustain and support the finances of the church and help maintain Follen’s people, programs, and buildings. Large special-purpose withdrawals are decided democratically by congregational vote. A small amount is used in our annual budget.

Funds from the endowment were critical in helping build Follen’s beautiful new addition. The endowment also includes several named funds for specific programs: religious education, music, pastoral care, building repair, and organ maintenance.

For a church that is 186 years old, our endowment is modest. We haven’t made a concerted effort to grow it for a long time—maybe ever. The stronger it is, the better it can keep the church thriving. We would love to grow it again, and hope that you will consider joining the effort.

Next week, you will receive a brochure that describes some of the ways to donate to the endowment. Gifts of any size are welcome, and help us strengthen the church’s long-term stability.

If you have any questions about donating to the Follen endowment, please email

Thank you,

Robin Tartaglia