April 29, 2019 by Presbyterian Foundation
Eight years ago, we set a new path for the Foundation as an agency and trustee ministry arm of the PC(USA). We intentionally listened to the voices and needs of our constituents, pairing that with a methodical and thoughtful analysis of data. Based upon all of this, we altered our strategic plan and attendant projects, accordingly.
We have been incredibly pleased to see that our directions have proven to be genuinely helpful and fruitful for the Foundation Family and for the church at large. I have personally been so grateful for all of you as leaders who have walked with us on this path and helped us serve broadly the needs of the entire PC(USA). Our numbers in 2018 are a strong indication that our plans and decisions have been successful and that we are doing precisely the work we are called to do.
In 2018, we received new gifts and assets of $82,011,024. This is a record amount over any other year for the past 20 years.
The Foundation Family operating together through the Foundation and New Covenant Trust Company, under the guidance of our staff and strategic plan, are truly working as we had hoped and planned, helping our congregations, Mid-councils and other ministries grow in their work.
Interestingly, our most recent programs and additions have been seeing the clearest, but modest, growth. Donor-Advised Funds, Ministry Partnership Funds, Endowment Services and funds are coming in through our partnerships. One such partnership is with the Committee on Theological Education. When the Presbyterian Foundation become the home for the Theological Education Fund just a few years ago, we began seeing an uptick in gifts, thanks to the outstanding work of Lee Hinson-Hasty and those Foundation staff who work with Lee. We hope and pray that support for his work to prepare the next generation of pastors in the PC(USA) continues to grow.
The annual number of donors also saw a dramatic increase in 2018. There are now 5,554 people who support their congregations, ministries, partnerships and causes that they love through the Foundation. These are not only creating relationships that are the primary promise of future gifts for the Foundation family, they are also actual dollars available or given directly to ministry and mission throughout the church.
In addition, the annual number of new gifts given between 2017 to 2018 grew from 21,135 to 37,239. This represents an increase of over 75 percent in the number of gifts from 2017 to 2018, and also reveals that more people are utilizing the Foundation as their gift vehicle for ministry and mission than at any other time in the over 200-year history of the Foundation.
Of course, we are more than our numbers. Each gift represents actual impact for the love of God in our world. I was recently struck by one such ministry in Sacramento – a church called St. Stephens Presbyterian Church. This church worked for some years to maintain its ministry and congregational life. Eventually, however, St. Stephen’s came to a place where it was no longer sustainable, and decided to close as an operating local congregation.
As St. Stephen’s wound down their ministry as a congregation, rather than simply giving up and conceding all of their work as ending, they partnered with the Foundation, selling their church building and then placing funds left over from the sale of their property in an endowment with us. The proceeds are continuing to fund a food pantry that remains as a vibrant and on-going ministry in that community, serving 500 families each month. They also fund a school for homeless children, and several other ministries.
One former St. Stephens member named Sharon put it so well, saying “This means that St. Stephens will still serve until Christ comes again.”
That’s a beautiful definition of ministry, and endowment! I’m so grateful to Sharon, for the generosity of former members at St. Stephen’s, and for the vision of those who saw beyond what was ending, to see what God still intends to do through them.
May God bless you with such visions and keep you in 2019.
In Christ’s service,
Rev. Tom Taylor, J.D., Ph.D.
President and CEO