21st Century Stewards: Foundation Growth Aids Vital Ministry


April 30, 2014

By Tom Hilton

“We try to meet the needs of our churches and related agencies,” says Tom Hilton, the chair of the Investment Committee of the Missouri United Methodist Foundation. “Endowments and other long-term funds need continuity of administration year-in and year-out. That is what the Foundation investment program is built for.”  
    
A retired CFO of a Fortune 500 company and active church leader, Hilton has a keen appreciation for the long-term benefits of fiscal discipline. “An endowment can help a church take a much longer and more expansive view of its mission. Properly invested, these funds can make a big difference for ministry both currently and for future generations.” Hilton also notes the statewide impact of the Foundation’s growth which “is now consistently distributing over a quarter million dollars each year in ministry grants and scholarships.”   
    
David Atkins, the Foundation executive director, notes that the Foundation’s track record is positive, consistent – and boring! “Long-term diversified investing is pretty boring – and that is just the way we like it. The Foundation is most helpful with continuity and discipline – so that as local church leadership changes occur, the investment ball does not get dropped.”   
    
Solid investment returns, low costs, and ease of use have helped the Foundation grow to over $80 million in assets under administration.             Currently, 163 churches and 34 agencies maintain accounts at the Foundation which account for about 63 percent of total assets. The remaining assets include donor advised funds, endowments, and planned gifts (gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts).  
    
Hilton is quick to compliment his colleagues on the investment committee. “Pam Moench, John Korschot, Steve York, Bob Courtney, as well as David Atkins and Director of Operations, Monett Lite, devote a great deal of time and energy working with our professional consultants at Hammond-Mercer to fulfill our fiduciary duties. Our ministries are truly blessed by their outstanding talents and leadership.”  
    
The Foundation was started in 1967 and continues to assist churches, agencies and individuals to sustain the United Methodist witness throughout Missouri with a variety of stewardship services. To learn more visit www.mumf.org.