April 13, 2018 by Presbyterian Foundation
I have experienced several incoming and outgoing classes of board members of the Presbyterian Foundation and New Covenant Trust Company over the years. While it could be easy to view each year as a discreet, segmented board leading our work, just for that time-period, that would be a mistake. Instead, I think of our board much more like a flowing river, with a 200+-year history, consistency, purpose, direction, and a future. The board has made changes in strategic or tactical course over the years, decades and even centuries. But our mission – to gather, manage, and disburse assets for Christ’s church through the PC(USA) – remains the constant. Because of this, the board has remained consistent in its visionary leadership.
Always working to improve our fiduciary excellence has at all times remained one of our highest priorities. We have also looked to what the Foundation can do to help shape the future in positive ways on behalf of the church. During my tenure so far, we have committed to help ensure the health and vitality of our local congregations. Motivated by increasing expense and regulation in the financial services industry, the board moved the Foundation from complexity in the organization, to focus on our core competencies – concentrating on what we do best and uniquely and what the church at large truly wants and needs us to do today and for the future. Increasing secularization of our society and declining church attendance have challenged our churches to think in new ways about evangelism and stewardship. Thus, we are creating tools to help churches find resources and fund their ministries.
In all of this, we have developed a kind of research and development philosophy, being willing to try new directions. In all of this, our board members remain bound together, standing on the shoulders of their predecessors, while giving clarity and direction to each new incoming class. Some of the specific results have led to deeper and broader collaborations with all the PC(USA) agencies. We have expanded certain international missional relationships, including sister organizations such as the World Communion of Reformed Churches, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan in the Holy Land, Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, Presbyterian Church of Syria and Lebanon, and Waldensians in South America, to name a few. We are engaging with our Presbyterian seminaries in refreshing ways. Use of our Ministry Partnership Funds, primarily for gifts to congregations, continue to increase at astonishing rates. And since 2010, our new gifts and assets – one of the key yardsticks for the Foundation’s health – has grown from approximately $18 million to over a record $72 million in 2017.
Unquestionably, to God be the glory for all of this. Yet, we also see God’s glory reflected in faithful Foundation board members who have had the vision and courage to move with creativity and continued energy to make the work of the Foundation and the New Covenant Trust Company so effective for the cause of Christ nationally and around the world.
The best news to report is that we continue to provide tens of millions of dollars to mission every year. In 2017 alone, over $63 million was paid out in funds to mission. Collectively, from 2010 to 2017, $494,200,000 has been given to mission. I hope and pray that news warms the hearts of every board member who has been a faithful and significant part of this work and makes you proud to be a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA). I know I am proud to serve along with you.
Rev. Tom Taylor, J.D., Ph.D.
President and CEO