Rules governing how nonprofits in North Carolina and 23 other states use their endowments date to the 1970s, when most states adopted a uniform law that prohibits withdrawing money from endowments that fall below their “historic dollar value”—the money given to create the endowment, plus any later gifts.
If an endowment in these states is worth less than the money put into it, the organization can’t withdraw from it. Fortunately, new Ohio law will prevent that as of 6/1. And the Bascom Little Fund is old enough that historic dollar value probably does not factor in (the dollar was still theoretically pegged to gold back then). But it’s a problem for some, and could be a problem for me.