Q&A with South Georgia Conference Treasurer Derek McAleer


In 2015, the Georgia United Methodist Foundation welcomed Dr. Derek McAleer as the new administrative services director of the South Georgia Conference and as an ex-officio member to our board. In this interview, he shares how the GUMF encourages faithful stewardship.

GUMF: What value does the GUMF’s Planned Giving and Legacy Ministry Training programs offer churches in your Conference?

Dr. McAleer: Many Christians have been faithful givers to the Lord over their lives, and they would like the opportunity to continue to tithe even after they have passed on. As a result, a church needs to be prepared to receive such ongoing gifts, and to provide the structure and options necessary for a successful planned giving program. Planned gifts could be cash, stocks, other investments, land, and other property. The foundation’s Legacy Ministry Training helps churches create a customized legacy program for receiving planned gifts.

In addition, many Christians might not realize they can do planned giving for the church they love. They know their college and beloved charities are ready to receive planned gifts, but no one from their church has ever raised the issue. Churches need to let their members know that planned giving to your church can continue your tithe even after your passing, and that such gifts can benefit the ministry they have loved and supported for so long. The foundation can help Christians plan their estate and charitable giving in a way that benefits their family and church.

GUMF: How has the GUMF helped your Conference?

Dr. McAleer: Our Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) has invested some of the Conference reserves with the foundation, and is grateful for the skill and expertise available to us. Our Conference Trustees also have funds with the foundation. Both groups appreciate the flexible investment options and strong returns we are earning. We also like it that our invested funds are providing resources for other United Methodist ministries.

GUMF: How have churches in your Conference benefited from the GUMF’s Loan Fund program?

Dr. McAleer: A number of churches have refinanced their loans through the foundation. They found the new, lower rate saved them substantial funds, which then can be used for the mission of the church. My own church did, and the lower rate saved us $25,000 a year. In the past few years, churches have found it difficult to get normal construction loans due to changes in the banking environment. Thankfully, our foundation specializes in loans to churches, and at favorable rates.

GUMF: Why should a church choose the GUMF as its investment manager instead of a local investment firm?

Dr. McAleer: There are many reasons to go with the foundation. One, their rates are often more attractive than local for-profit firms. In addition, the foundation is very sensitive to the social ethics churches may have concerning how their funds are invested. Plus, the foundation uses those invested funds to make loans to other churches and ministries, so a local church can be glad that its own funds are blessing other ministries. Finally, the foundation’s policies are not directed towards stockholder benefit, but to benefit churches and mission agencies in the North and South Georgia Conferences.

GUMF: Does the GUMF offer any other services that you would recommend to churches in your Conference?

Dr. McAleer: Churches with endowments or other investment funds may find the foundation’s strong returns attractive. They will also like the foundation’s access to socially responsible investing, and the fact that their invested funds are used to assist other churches and ministries. Any church that wants to consider an endowment or planned giving can learn what they need to know from the Foundation.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2015 edition of Faith & Money, a publication of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.