The Perpetual Emigration Fund
(PEF), established by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
, provided economic assistance to more than 30,000 individuals who sought to settle in Utah
and surrounding regions. The PEF used both Church assets and private contributions to aid impoverished converts to the faith when they moved west. As funds were limited, converts seeking aid were ranked by their useful skills and by the duration of their membership in the Church. Limits on funds led to innovative preparations and travel methods, including the establishment of handcart companies
, to reduce expenses. Once established in their new homes, the converts were expected to repay the funds in cash, commodities, or labor, with minor interest. This way the fund could be perpetual and others could receive help.
The U.S. Congress, during a period of disenfranchisement for the Church, dismantled the fund through the Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1887.
Perpetual Education Fund
In 2001, the Church established a modern variant of this fund, dubbing it the Perpetual Education Fund. This new fund helps members of the Church in mostly third-world countries to gain an education. Again, once established in a new profession, Church members are expected to repay the funds, with minor interest, so others can receive help.
PEF site on Wikipedia