United Methodist Church Foundation Board Elects New Officers, Expands Ministries

gcfa_300Nashville, TN – The United Methodist Church Foundation recently celebrated 15 years of operations and growth for ministry organizations of all sizes and types within The United Methodist Church. Meeting in Nashville, TN on December 2-3, 2014, the Foundation’s board of directors welcomed new officers and unanimously elected Beatrice Garza of Houston to serve as chair, succeeding Oscar Luis Garza. “When we pray for God to show us where He wants our service, we must be prepared for His answer, knowing full well that His response will stretch us,” said Bea Garza. “Today, I am following God’s nudging and am honored to serve Him and the Church as board chair of The United Methodist Church Foundation.” Also elected were Dixie Hall of Missoula, MT as Vice Chair, Sharon Washington of Jeffersonville, IN as Secretary, and Chuck Tokuhama as Treasurer.

During the meeting, the directors engaged in a strategic planning process that focused on the diversity of ministries endowed and the growth of assets under management thus far. The board also heard from Dr. Don House of Bryan, Texas who presented statistics, analysis and strategies for growth rather than decline.

In early 2000, the UMC Foundation began its ministry with no endowments in place and no established donors. Today, the Foundation has built endowments for twenty-two diverse ministries of the Church that include church administration, Christian education, racial/ethnic caucus ministries, social, gender and racial justice, scouting ministries, and conflict transformation. At the December meeting, the board of directors approved two new endowment efforts to benefit camping and retreat ministries of the General Board of Discipleship and a sustainable agriculture fund of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Citing 26% growth in assets under management to $113 million and in numbers of investment accounts over the preceding 4 years, Byrd Bonner, President of the Foundation since its inception, credits the steady growth to commitment and vision of agency leadership of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) and the program agencies of The United Methodist Church. The Foundation board is focusing its energies on new conversations about vitality and transformation in faith communities where disciples are made.

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