The South Georgia Conference Relies on the Foundation as a Trusted Resource


Dr. Derek W. McAleer (left) previously served as the South Georgia Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services and as an ex-officio member of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation Board of Trustees until his retirement effective December 31, 2022. (Read his retirement announcement here).

In this Q&A, Dr. McAleer explains why he is a strong advocate of the Foundation.

Q: How would you describe the partnership between the South Georgia Conference and the Foundation?
Dr. McAleer:
 I’m grateful for the expertise and services the Foundation provides to our conference. The Foundation assists us by managing several endowments and funds we have for specific purposes. They provide a tremendous resource to local churches. I am constantly referring a church to the Foundation for a loan or refinance proposal, to work on a cemetery association, to handle certificate investments, or some similar work.

Q: Why does the South Georgia Conference partner with the Foundation on the investment of its funds?
Dr. McAleer:
 We like the security the Foundation provides, the returns we get on our investments, and the way the Foundation uses our invested funds to support loans to churches for kingdom work.

Q: What are the benefits of choosing the Foundation, a United Methodist not-for-profit agency, as your investment partner?
Dr. McAleer:
 First, the Foundation understands churches. They get the church’s bottom line – which, while having a financial component, is not only financial. The Foundation gets the idea that funds are for ministry.
   Second, the Foundation partners with Wespath Institutional Investments (which manages nearly $23 billion as of September 30, 2022) to manage the funds. So, we get local contact with international expertise.
   Third, the Foundation understands the church’s investment values. They help us be socially responsible without being fiscally irresponsible.
   Fourth, the Foundation is local. The Foundation was created and managed for Methodists in Georgia.

Q: What has your experience been like working with the Foundation?
Dr. McAleer:
 We get very prompt service. When we need funds, we usually have them within a day. When it’s time to renew a certificate, they are proactive. When I send a church to them for help, that church’s calls and questions get answered, and their needs get met.

Q: Are you confident in the Foundation’s future and the funds you have invested there?
Dr. McAleer:
 Absolutely! The Foundation’s by-laws provide that it can serve any Georgia church with historical ties to the Methodist Church. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is diverse and skilled. I don’t have any crystal ball about the future of The United Methodist Church, but I am confident the Foundation will be there for our churches in whatever future God chooses to develop for us.

Q: When do you refer churches to the Foundation? What services should they seek from the Foundation?
Dr. McAleer:
 I send churches to the Foundation for certificate investments and endowments. (Churches are amazed to find out that the Foundation beats their bank)!
   I send churches that need help setting up a cemetery association to the Foundation. (Every church should know who will care for their cemetery if the church were to close).
   I send churches to the Foundation for building loans and refinancing. (I’ve discovered that even when the Foundation doesn’t get the loan, their rates cause the local bank to “sweeten” their bid).
   I send churches to the Foundation to learn how to talk to members about leaving a gift to the church in their wills. Notice every one of these items is a service that benefits the local church.