North Georgia Conference Treasurer Keith Cox shares one note of consideration and one information piece concerning tax law changes and the church.
- The tax law changes that are now in effect may have resulted in some members “pre-paying” 2018 pledges in December 2017. Please remember that these “prepaid” offerings may favorably skew your church’s reported cash position. Please be mindful of this potential situation as you manage your finances early this year.
- The Society of Human Resource Management published the following information last week: The new law "suspends both the tax exclusion and the deduction related to moving expenses for taxable years 2018 until 2025. Value of the benefit will be included as taxable income and the deduction will be eliminated for individual taxpayers, except for members of the Armed Forces.”
On a trip to New Orleans a few years back I learned about lagniappe. It loosely translates to “a little something extra.” If you find yourself with a little something extra at year end, would you consider a “lagniappe" gift to the Georgia United Methodist Foundation? If the stock market has been good to you or you are simply looking for an additional tax-deductible contribution, perhaps GUMF will fit the bill. You may designate a gift for whatever you are passionate about: our scholarship fund; our Grant Fund; or perhaps our new Clergy Financial Leadership Academy fund. If your church has an endowment fund at GUMF, you may wish to donate to it. Here’s my point. If you feel truly blessed this year, you will find great joy sharing your blessings with others. We at GUMF can help. Won’t you give us a call to explore how you might give a little lagniappe this holiday season?
The Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s Investment Committee is pleased to announce the selection of Wespath Investment Management, an agency of The United Methodist Church, as our Fixed Income Fund Investment Manager effective November 1, 2017.
“As Trustees, we have a fiduciary responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of our investors. Wespath has a unique focus in terms of serving clients like ours as well as a history of strong investment performance,” said Calvin R. Stamps, GUMF’s Investment Committee Chair. “Wespath has been our Equity Investment Manager since 2010. We look forward to growing our partnership with Wespath over the long term while faithfully serving the investment needs of our United Methodist church constituents.”
Rev. Keith E. Lawder, GUMF President/CEO, adds, “During our seven-year relationship with Wespath, they have earned our complete confidence that the services they provide enable us to be good stewards of the assets entrusted to us. Additionally, Wespath’s efforts to invest in sustainable and socially responsible ways have been nothing less than inspiring.”
Russell H. Jones, GUMF Vice President/CFO, is overseeing the transition. “Efficiency is one of my passions. Our goal is to do the best job possible at the lowest cost, so our clients have more time and resources available to promote God’s Kingdom,” he said. “Wespath offers our clients more investment alternatives and better than benchmark returns.”
Stamps agrees. “We can offer our clients additional investment options that can be custom-tailored to meet their needs. Our clients will receive faster turnaround for liquidation requests as well as daily trading options that previously were not available,” he said. “Additionally, the administrative burden on our accounting staff will be greatly reduced. The back office function that is required to support our clients is very labor intensive and involves a myriad of complexities. The ability to directly interface with Wespath’s technological platform will reduce the chance of human error and allow for more simplified and accurate performance reporting to our clients.”
This article was originally published in the Fall 2017 edition of Faith & Money, a publication from the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.
By Rev. Stephen A. Waldorf
GUMF Vice President of Development
The churches of The South Georgia Conference are “Alive Together in Christ,” as Bishop Bryan enthusiastically reminds us. The weather in 2017 has certainly enabled our churches to show our love, encouragement, and support, as you have set aside many of your plans to rally together as communities in the wake of the tornadoes and hurricanes that have assailed South Georgia. Many who were left homeless have been invited into people’s homes, and church fellowship halls, for temporary shelter. Normal church activities were temporarily dropped for cooking teams, and chainsaw and cleanup crews to reach out wherever they found a need. This is who we are called to be as God’s children: “first responders” offering grace, love, service, and comfort to others because of what He has offered to us in Jesus Christ.
“Jesus said to Simon Peter … “Feed my lambs.” A second time Jesus said … “Simon ... Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon … Feed my sheep.” – John 21:15-17
Just before Jesus returns to heaven, He commands Peter three times to care for His sheep. Here is an example of how The Methodist Home for Children and Youth in Macon, Ga. is tending Jesus’ sheep! If you would like to establish an endowment to support wonderful organizations like this, please contact Nancy Young, Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s Director of Planned Giving, at 678-708-6601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to Christ and the Church, the mission of The Methodist Home for Children and Youth in Macon, Ga. is to be a model agency that restores childhoods, strengthens families and cultivates a people building organization. In the last year, The Methodist Home and The Foundation of The Methodist Home has received $40,000 in gifts resulting from endowments managed by the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.
“Because of the generous support of caring donors and friends and Methodists who have designated a portion of their estate, we are healing hurting hearts, untangling knots of rejection, and showing these precious children and families across South and Central Georgia a positive way forward to a brighter future,” said Alison Evans, President/CEO of The Methodist Home. “Gifts to The Methodist Home can change a child’s trajectory and future! The annual, ongoing distributions from these funds have helped us through some very lean times. These gifts enable us to assess our most immediate needs and to wisely and prudently use these blessings to bring glory to God through our vital ministry.”
Evans shared the following examples of how gifts received during the past fiscal year have impacted children’s lives. “We served 478 boys, girls and families through Lighthouse for Families Community Counseling Services. We provided care for 315 children living with us 24/7, which represents an increase of 15%. We served 20 different sets of brothers and sisters in residential care so the siblings could stay together,” she said. “We supported nine academically eligible seniors, who graduated from high school or received their GED. Additionally, 89% of our residential students were promoted to the next grade. We completed a much-needed brick repair project on Burden Chapel, which was built on the Macon campus in the early 1900s. We reestablished HOPE Foster Care, which places children in our own foster homes within the community. And we became a Sanctuary Certified Community, which is a model of care that creates a safe place for healing and hope!”
This article was originally published in the Georgia United Methodist Foundation's Fall 2017 Faith & Money.