Foundation Board enhances investment program 

The Christian  Church Foundation’s Board of Directors celebrated a record-breaking year at its recent spring meeting – and then took steps to further enhance the Foundation’s investment program.

Board Chair Rod Witte of Denver, CO, pointed to significant accomplishments in 2015, including:

  • Dollars distributed for ministry from gifts held at the Foundation topped $9.5 million;
  • Total gifts and deposits by partner investors received by the Foundation was about $43 million;
  • The Foundation’s own endowment now covers more than a fourth of the Foundation’s operating expenses.

Most of the meeting was focused on the investment program that the Foundation uses for its own funds and dollars owned by ministry partners affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The following changes were made:

  • Hired Baird Advisors of Milwaukee as an additional manager in domestic intermediate duration bonds;
  • Revised the asset allocation for the Brown Income Fund. To both reduce volatility and protect against interest rate risk, the fund will migrate to an allocation of 50% domestic fixed income, 15% global fixed income, 10% real assets and 25% domestic equities. Managers Van Eck and Wellington in the Brown Fund will be replaced by State Street Global Advisors of Boston. 

Based on market forecasts and inflation projections, the Board also set new Income rates for permanent funds owned by the Foundation and those partner investment accounts that have chosen to receive distributions based on the defined Income rate. The new rates begin Jan. 1, 2017. They are announced seven months in advance so that ministries that choose to use these rates can budget for the changes. The defined Income rates will be:

  • Campbell Multi-Strategy Fund: 4.25%
  • Beasley Growth Fund: 4.0%
  • Common Balanced Fund: 3.75%
  • Brown Income Fund: 2.5%

The defined Income percentage is just a part of the total earnings expected for each investment fund, with the remainder retained to allow for inflation-protected growth. Having a defined, objective Income rate helps achieve the Foundation’s dual goals of maximum distributions for ministry and inflation-adjusted long-term growth in the funds under management, said Gary Kidwell, president.

The following individuals were elected to the Board for terms starting in 2017: Marvin Anderson, a St. Louis banker and member of Union Avenue Christian Church; the Rev. Heather Simpson, senior minister of Central Christian Church in Uniontown, PA; and the Rev. David Yonker, senior minister of First Christian Church in Burlington, IA. Anderson and Simpson will serve three-year terms; Yonker will fill the remaining one year of an unexpired term, and then be eligible for a three-year term.

The Foundation’s Board will meet again Nov. 11-13 in Hebron, KY, south of Cincinnati.

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. At the start of 2016, the Foundation was responsible for $600 million of the church’s money. 

(Posted 5-4-16)