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Foundation Distributes Record $9.5 Million



A record $9.5 million was distributed to Disciples-related ministries and other charities in 2015 from permanent funds and other donor-directed gifts held at the Christian Church Foundation. In 2014, $8.4 million was distributed.

Gary Kidwell, Foundation president, also reports the Foundation received $8.7 million in new permanent fund gifts in 2015 – another record.

“This is a sign of hope as people who love the church provide the resources through legacy gifts to support the future ministries of congregations, regions, general ministries and other Disciples-related witnesses,” he said. “It is an honor for the Foundation to be entrusted with these gifts and to stand in the donors’ shoes in perpetuity.”

The Foundation manages more than 1,400 named permanent funds, funded by donors with gifts ranging from $1,000 to several million dollars. The Foundation is responsible for $160 million of these permanent and donor-advised funds. Income solely from permanent funds, which support donor-selected Disciples ministries, accounted for $6.6 million of the Foundation’s distributions.

Kidwell said new permanent fund gifts include assets from seven legacy congregations that have ceased their visible ministry but whose local and global witness will continue through income distributions from these funds. The Foundation now manages assets from 88 of these legacy congregations.

The Foundation also helps congregations and other church-related institutions promote and faithfully steward their endowment assets, using the Foundation’s investment program. In 2015, partner investors deposited $34 million into their accounts at the Foundation. At the end of 2015, the Foundation was responsible for $398.1 million in partner investments. Partner ministries use the income from these accounts to enhance their own ministry and witness, supporting their unique programs and vision.

The Foundation also received $1.6 million in new life-income gifts, donor-advised and donor-directed gifts in 2015. Life-income gifts, which can provide a steady stream of payments for donors, leave a residual gift for donor-selected ministries when the life-income payments terminate. 

With new investment deposits and $9.8 million in new gifts, the Foundation closed 2015 with $600 million in assets. Weak domestic and global market performance reduced the Foundation’s asset base from 2014’s record $618 million.

The Alabama-Northwest Florida Region is just one of the many ministries benefiting from the Foundation’s permanent fund and investment programs.

“With the help of the Christian Church Foundation, the Alabama-Northwest Florida Region has been able to create permanent funds for various kinds of ministry -- new congregation establishment, ministerial education and support, camp/conference scholarships, and office/maintenance needs,” said the Rev. John Mobley, regional minister.  “These funds have grown through wise investment strategies and they provide healthy streams of funding that strengthen the region’s ministry.”

But the partnership doesn’t end there, Mobley said. Foundation development officers work with individuals who include the region in their end-of-life gift plans.

“Income from these permanent funds represents a significant percentage of the Region's operating income.  With the help of the Foundation, the region is making new efforts in 2016 to invite other faithful Disciples in Alabama-Northwest Florida to become Legacy Partners by making end-of-life gifts, thereby insuring into perpetuity that the region will continue to have the support it needs for its ministries.”

Permanent fund income and other gifts that were distributed to Disciples ministries and other charitable causes, according to donors’ instructions, in 2015 are as follows:

  • $3.3 million to general ministries and other recognized organizations
  • $2.1 million to Disciples congregations
  • $2.0 million to regions
  • $1.0 million to Disciples Mission Fund, the church’s general mission funding system
  • $0.9 million to higher education institutions affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • $0.2 million to other charities.

The Christian Church Foundation is a general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with the mission of undergirding ministry through permanent funds, planned gifts and prudent investment of funds owned by Disciples ministries. It is a donor-directed Foundation designed to benefit Disciples ministries and institutions.

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(2-29-16)