GUMF Certificates - A Mutually Beneficial Investment

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Richard Shinhoster of Savannah, Ga. is a retired College Administrator, a member of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation Board of Trustees, Chair of The South Georgia Conference Coastal District Missions Ministries, and Owner of Diaspora Marketplace. In whatever role he serves, he believes the Lord has blessed him so he can be a blessing to others.

Diaspora Marketplace is the result of a lifelong interest in Africa, which led Shinhoster and his late brother Earl T. Shinhoster to visit the continent. The term “Diaspora” is associated with the worldwide dispersal of Jewish people in biblical times and the scattering of Africans when they were sold into slavery.

The two established relationships with local artists in Ghana and soon found themselves carrying a growing list of souvenir requests from friends and family. Seeing an opportunity to provide an economic outlet for their artist friends as well as satisfy the market for quality, moderately priced African art products, the Shinhosters began importing and selling their wares at festivals. In 1998, they secured a permanent retail and wholesale store, and Diaspora Marketplace was born.

Today, Shinhoster says that his greatest success is in establishing mutually beneficial relationships between the artists and his customers.

It comes as no surprise that Shinhoster and his wife, Lillian, chose to invest their funds in another mutually beneficial relationship: GUMF’s Certificate Program. Investments in GUMF certificates are used exclusively to fund loans to Methodist churches and entities in Georgia.

“After being a part of the local church for most of our lives, we saw that churches were in need of financing from time to time. We also saw that the Foundation’s Certificate Program allowed individuals to invest their funds with the surety that these funds could then go back and help local churches,” Shinhoster said. “This is a unique feature of The United Methodist Church to bring these entities together. And as an investor, it spoke to our personal ministries of being good stewards, while at the same time being able to help others.”

Shinhoster discussed this investment with their children and grandchildren. “One of our goals is to increase our families’ understanding of how to handle funds so that it is a part of our faith in God and our ministry,” he said. “At some point, I would also like to share this opportunity with lay people in the Church. The Certificate Program offers a way to be better stewards of the resources that God has given us so that we can help the Church grow, do more ministry for those who are in need in our community, and build the kingdom. Methodists need to think of the Foundation as a resource that financially empowers our local church.”

Shinhoster considers GUMF certificates to be a safe investment. “I have read the literature, and it is definitely a low-risk investment. Although it is not FDIC-insured, I believe it is God-insured, which is better,” he said. “Now that I am formally associated with the Foundation, I am so impressed with the caliber of leadership and expertise that we have, which also minimizes risk.”