Thomson First UMC Selects GUMF to Manage and Grow its Endowment

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A referral from an active church leader followed by a request for proposals and period of due diligence resulted in Thomson First UMC of Thomson, Ga. selecting the Georgia United Methodist Foundation to manage its endowment fund.

“My experience with the GUMF over the past 20 years managing money for the Sparta Cemetery Association gave me the confidence that the GUMF would do the same for Thomson First UMC’s endowment fund,” said Jim Alfriend, Chairman of the Endowment Trustees at Thomson First UMC.

“In 2006, our church received two legacy or estate gifts from longtime, faithful, and committed church members. This was a very generous gesture on their part and a great example of their commitment not only to the Church, but to Christ,” Alfriend explained. “When we received the gifts, Rev. Tom Kerr was our pastor and I was Chairman of our Finance Committee. Tom suggested we set up an endowment trust that would perpetually protect the money for the benefit of the mission of our church.”

In 2007, Thomson First UMC followed through with Rev. Kerr’s recommendation and established the governing committee, bylaws, and endowment fund in accordance with the provisions outlined in the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.

"The purpose of the endowment is to expand our Christ-centered ministries beyond the boundaries of our church's present operating budget. In the bylaws, the principal is protected. Twenty percent of earnings annually are returned to principal; 20 percent are designated for a capital account that will build and accrue seed money needed for future major capital projects; and the remaining 60 percent of earnings are designated for missions, ministry enhancement, and capital projects within our church," Alfriend said. "Since our endowment has been in existence, it has continued to grow through lifetime gifts given by church members, as well as memorial gifts given in memory of deceased church members."

"In 2015, our trustees decided it was our fiduciary responsibility to obtain the services of a professional financial manager. We did a request for proposals, and, for several reasons, if was a unanimous decision to place our funds with the GUMF," Alfriend explained. "The GUMF is connected with The United Methodist Church and provides capital to churches to build and improve facilities. The GUMF is a nonprofit organization. Any fees we pay to manage our funds are not paid out to shareholders, but are used to support United Methodists in the form of grants and scholarships.

"The GUMF is a proven, succesful entity that has been around a long time and has a great reputation. We know the Board and have access to its members. Finally, Rev. Chuck Savage (retired GUMF President/CEO) has been so accomodating. We are looking forward to getting to know the GUMF's new President/CEO, Rev. Keith Lawder."

This article was originally published in the Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s 2015 Annual Report.