It is always good and more pleasurable to provide you with a positive report on the absolute and relative rates of returns for the Common Fund. This report is for the first quarter of 2017, which ended on March 31.
Let's talk honestly about money and the church
THE MORAVIAN MINISTRIES FOUNDATION helps Moravian individuals, churches, and agencies grow and sustain the ministries that are central to their faith. We do this through investments, gift planning, and stewardship development.
Common Fund: 1st Quarter 2017 Reports
Understanding Your Annuity or Trust Tax Forms
By now everyone who has created a gift annuity or charitable trust through the Moravian Ministries Foundation has received their tax forms. We are pleased to share information from Kaspick and Company, our investment manager, on how to understand these forms.
Understanding Your Federal Schedule K-1 (Form 1041)
You and your tax advisor may find the following points helpful as you prepare your personal tax returns.
Invest Where You Believe
Let's talk honestly about money and the church.
Forever this has been a naturally complex relationship, because God's grace is freely given and yet doing His work requires so much.
Love. Kindness. Action. And yes, money.
At the Moravian Ministries Foundation, the churches, congregations, and individuals we serve understand this. For them, letting values guide their giving is recognition of a simple, practical truth:
viable ministries need an abundance of resources to thrive.
So many times in life we think we must choose between two alternatives, like two different cups of coffee. When making a gift to support the causes they care about, many people feel like they either have to choose between making a sizable gift today, so they can see firsthand the impact of their gift (and receive any upfront tax benefits), or holding off on making their intended gift until much later, when they know they won't need the money during their lifetime.
Measuring the Common Fund's Performance
Each year the Moravian Ministries Foundation looks beyond the usual measures, such as benchmarks and the like, to see how our investment returns compare with those of similar endowments and foundations. This effort helps us ensure the churches and agencies who participate in the Common Fund are getting the best returns. We will not be number one every year, but being among the top performers is a goal we strive to achieve.
HOW WE MEASURE
Resources for Congregations
Raising the Next Generation to be Grateful and Generous
Children are one of God's greatest gifts. We strive to raise them to be compassionate, appreciative, and kindhearted. As a church we promise to love and nurture them in Christ. One of our responsibilities as communities of faith is to teach our children how to recognize God's abundant gifts of grace, to be grateful for what they have been given, and to be generous. Here are a few ideas to help as we develop the next generation of stewards.
1. Help children see that God has given them many blessings. (This also teaches good self-esteem.)
Step Up Generosity in 2017
We recommend to pastors and church leaders that you take the time to "step out" your congregational giving this year. Using a chart like the one in the photo (from Herb Miller's Grow1 Stewardship Program), you can easily see how people are supporting the church as well as challenge members to consider moving up a step. Many congregations share the concern that only a few members are generating most of the church's gifts; at a recent conference we heard from a pastor whose church has 10% of the members giving 45% of its budget.
The Giving Autobiography
What is your earliest memory of giving and of receiving? Mine involves my grandmother; she took me out to lunch every year on my birthday, letting me pick the restaurant (as a kid that was usually McDonald’s or Arby’s), and then we went shopping and I got to pick out whatever I wanted as long as it was $20 or less. As an adult I can appreciate that her giving was how we all should give….selflessly. She didn’t make me eat where she wanted to eat (most likely the K&W Cafeteria or the Carriage House), and she didn’t give me something she thought I should have; she let me choose.
On Taxes and Giving Back
I have been talking about giving and philanthropy for a LONG time. Last night I did my taxes. It is a task I truly hate. It’s not the tax bill that bothers me, it’s navigating the process of pulling together three sets of returns – the US IRS and the states of North and South Carolina. I have to prepare two states’ returns because I work in NC, but am a legal resident of SC – the place of our retirement (my wife is already retired there).
Lift Up Thine Eyes
When I started playing field hockey in high school, I had a coach who was constantly reminding us to look up. As new players, we would hold our heads down and stare intently at our sticks and the ball, trying to master the skills needed to effectively move both our bodies and the ball down the field. I can still see and hear the coach as she stood on the sideline yelling, "Heads up! Heads up! Look where you're going!"
Living His Gratitude for a Loving Father
Most of our work involves helping faithful Moravians make their plans for remembering the Church and its ministries in their estate plans. It is rewarding and fun work, but one of the downsides is often the giver never gets to see or watch his or her generosity come alive.
Having Fun Now
Next week I will take four impressive seminarians to Charlotte to have lunch with a generous and faithful Moravian who created a permanent fund. While the original plan called for his fund to be funded from his estate, over a year ago he said, “I don’t want to die to help the Church and the ministries that are important to me. I want to do something while I am alive so I can watch and enjoy the benefits of my plan. I am 85 years old and time is not on my side, but that doesn't mean I can’t have fun now!”
Taking A Time Out
For the past four years, one of my responsibilities with the Foundation has been to work with everyone who invests in the Common Fund. Those files take up about three large drawers and contain set-up documents for the invested funds, any correspondence, yearly updates, and, for many of the funds, how withdrawn money has been spent.
A few months ago I was having a hot dog at one of my favorite places to have hot dogs. No, it wasn’t Fenway Park. It was a local shop. I was sitting there and there was a 9 or 10 year-old sitting near me. Apparently the schools were closed that day. She had two or three books and had her nose in them reading. Her father, the store manager, was nearby. Clearly, while it wasn’t the perfect location to be reading, he decided that it was best to have her nearby and supervised rather than at home alone.
I asked her, “Do you enjoy reading?” She said, “I love to read.”
I Like My Stuff
A few days ago I painstakingly wrapped glass Christmas ornaments in tissue paper and tucked them back into the large bins where we store them from year to year. Each ornament has a story; when my brother and I were born, our parents started an ornament collection for each of us, and those grew every year. One of our mother’s friends traveled frequently all over the world and brought us ornaments from every country she visited.
A New Chapter
I’ve been writing this blog for weeks and it just won’t get written. As my retirement date approaches in a little over a week, I’m not sure what to say about “goodbye” and my feelings are all over the map about it. But here’s what I know to be true: I have had the most incredible experiences and have been honored and blessed by the opportunity to work here at the Moravian Ministries Foundation.