Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Foundation?

The Christian Church Foundation is one of the general ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Our mission is to educate members, congregations and other manifestations of the church about the stewardship of accumulated resources; serve as a manager of funds owned by churches and entities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and facilitate opportunities for planned gifts that will benefit any and all Disciples causes.

How can I apply for grants?

The Foundation does not issue grants. Funds held by or invested with the Foundation are dispersed to the Disciples causes identified by the individual donor or investing ministry.

Who can invest with the Foundation?

The Foundation only invests funds for congregations and institutions/ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Foundation is unable to invest funds for individuals.

Why should I make a planned gift?

Planned giving offers a wide variety of benefits to you as you plan to accomplish your charitable and financial goals. Benefits include: personal satisfaction in the continued proclamation of Jesus Christ through the specific causes you choose; income tax savings; avoidance of capital gain tax or federal estate tax; opportunity to provide income to yourself, spouse, family or friend with tax benefits to you; reduction in the administrative costs of settling your estate.

How can I make a gift?

The Foundation has several ways individuals can make a gift. While outright gifts of cash are always accepted, many other assets may be more desirable in a planned gift. Appreciated securities or real estate can be used, and, in many cases, allow you to avoid or lessen a capital gain tax. Life insurance policies also make excellent gifts. Qualified retirement plans, which require income tax to be paid at withdrawal, can be used as a gift at time of death and avoid income tax that otherwise would be due.

Gifts also can be used to create a permanent endowment fund through the Foundation. You determine the Disciples causes that benefit from annual distributions. Permanent funds can be added during one's lifetime, as well as at death through a bequest.

Gifts also can produce an income for you. The simplest and oldest form is the charitable gift annuity. An asset, such as cash or marketable securities, is transferred to the Christian Church Foundation. The Foundation contractually guarantees to pay a specified annuity to the donor and/or another beneficiary for life. The payout rate is determined by the ages of the beneficiaries. At the death of the last beneficiary, the residual goes to the Disciples charity - congregation, institution or ministry - that you have selected. It also can be split among several ministries or used to create a permanent endowment for the church. With a gift annuity agreement, you receive a charitable deduction for income tax purposes, based on U.S. Government Treasury Tables. A portion of your annual annuity payment from the Foundation also is free of tax throughout your life expectancy. There are many other types of planned giving programs available, and our development staff would welcome the opportunity to explore the possibilities with you.

Can I give on-line?

Because the Foundation’s mission is to raise funds for permanent funds through “planned gifts,” we believe those decisions about giving are best made in consultation with planned giving officers as well as other professional advisors. Making the right decision about when to give and what type of assets to give (cash, real estate, appreciated securities, qualified assets, etc.) can maximize the benefit to oneself, one’s heirs and the church’s mission and ministry that you love and want to support.

We do accept online contributions to previously established permanent funds and to the Foundation's Make a Difference Fund, which provides annual operating funds for specific Foundation programs selected by the Foundation's Board of Directors. Click here to reach that site.

This donation site cannot be used to make additions into Subject-to-Withdrawal accounts owned by Disciples ministries or institutions, nor to make gifts to Steward's Donor-Advised Fund accounts.

Do you offer speakers?

Members of our development staff are either ordained or licensed ministers, and welcome the opportunity to visit congregations to speak during worship services. They also lead programs for congregations, and work confidentially one-on-one with potential donors. There is no charge for their services. Our development officers, however, are NOT financial advisers or tax lawyers; they can show you how your planned gift can benefit your favorite Disciples charities, but we always recommend you consult with your own financial and tax experts.

Why do I need a will? Should the church be included?

Seven out of 10 people die without a will, leaving important decisions about distribution of property and guardianship of children to the court system. Establishing a will can provide benefits for those family members and favorite causes and charities that otherwise would not receive benefits. A will also lets you determine who will be guardian of any minor children and who will administer your estate. By including the church or your favorite Disciples causes in your will, you have an opportunity to make a lasting testament to the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ. A charitable gift by bequest also can reduce the amount of federal and state taxes assessed to your estate. Download our Guide to Making a Will.

I’ve always heard that lots of money (like large endowment funds) can hurt giving to a church. Shouldn’t the current members support the congregation, rather than relying on past members?

Yes and No. Yes, current church members should support their church. No, none of us ever fully support the Church or other charitable ministries that are important to us – we all live on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We all benefit from buildings and endowment funds that were built by previous generations – churches, libraries, scholarship funds, universities, museums, hospitals, etc. Will you be a part of a generation that only benefits from previous gifts, or will you find a way to leave a lasting legacy? No, large permanent funds will not damage a congregation’s stewardship if they are managed properly. The danger for congregations wishing to grow their permanent (endowment) funds is not that they will have too much money, but that they will not have an adequate policy to manage or govern those assets. At the Christian Church Foundation, we believe that large permanent funds will enhance a congregation’s ministries if there is a well written policy that stipulates how the funds are to managed and income distributed. Here's our model policy we encourage congregations to use as a starting point for discussion.

Our church has just received a bequest. What do we do now?

If your congregation has not yet developed a bequest policy, now is the time. Call the Foundation for assistance. The Foundation has numerous materials available to assist you in creating a policy and determining what portion of the funds should be invested or spent on ministry. The Foundation also can manage the investment of the gift, eliminating any concerns the congregation may have about conflicts of interest.

Why should my congregation invest with the Foundation?

The Foundation's investment policy seeks to add value to the investment over time and maintain a steady stream of funding for the ministries of the church. In other words, the Foundation works to retain and add to the buying power of the investment despite inflation, and fund current ministries of the church. Money invested with the Foundation is pooled together, giving managers a significant source of funds with which to work. The investment is always owned by the congregation, and is subject to withdrawal subject to timely notification. Read more.

How are funds invested?

The Foundation manages four pools of investment funds through its Joint Investment Trust. Each fund has stated investment goals and objectives and is separately accounted for and segregated. The funds are titled: COMMON BALANCED FUND, BEASLEY GROWTH FUND, CAMPBELL MULTI-STRATEGY FUND and BROWN INCOME FUND. Each fund contains a different ratio and diversification of bonds and stocks. Additional information about these funds and a report on their returns are available from the Foundation office.

Are investments insured by the federal government?

No. As with most investments, there is some volatility involved, but diversification of investments and prudent fund management help limit the risk.