Cascading Conversations

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April 6, 2021

When FUMC Seguin originally created their foundation as a separate 501(c)(3), they were unaware of the time commitment managing it would require. With all of the rules and regulations associated with foundations, the leadership committee spent almost all of their time focused on investing, determining which investments were getting the best return, and making necessary adjustments. There was no time to think about ministry, invite laity into legacy giving, or share the stories that sprang to life as a result of generosity.

This frustrated leaders and spurred them to look for solutions. As they were looking, the church had started developing a relationship with TMF’s Senior Area Representative for the Rio Texas Conference, Tom Stanton. It was immediately apparent to Tom how deeply the church loved their community, and after many conversations, he was able to help them discern the purpose to which God was now calling them. Those purpose conversations prompted additional conversations about the foundation, the outcomes they wanted to see, and the ministries they wanted to support.

Tom helped them make a plan and then encouraged church leaders to reach out to TMF’s Assistant Vice President of Fund Administration, Sara Beltran. Sara was able to walk FUMC Seguin leaders through the process of opening an investment account with TMF and have a conversation about how we use these funds to invest in the work of the United Methodist Church across Texas and New Mexico. Even though an account application only requires three easy steps – church name, church address, and authorized signers’ information – Sara and other dedicated TMF staff members are always available to have a personalized conversation with church leaders to answer questions and offer assistance.

Following these conversations, FUMC Seguin was ready for a change. They wanted to move their investments to TMF and think more about their purpose. The church was able to make the difficult decision to dissolve their foundation as a result of their relationships with our staff.

“When we dissolved the foundation and invested the money with TMF, we were no longer worried about investment returns. TMF was going to maintain our investments and we were going to focus on ministry,” former member of the FUMC Seguin Foundation, W.C. Kirkendall shared. “We wanted to work with TMF because of their professionalism, staff, and reputation. We believe that TMF has a staff of people who are invested in the mission of the church. They are good people doing good things.”

Of course, TMF prioritizes relationship development with all the churches we serve in the same way we did with FUMC Seguin. Church leaders in Texas and New Mexico can easily work with an Area Representative, like Tom, to engage in rich conversations about generosity, purpose, and courage. Additionally, any church can discuss TMF investment opportunities with an investment specialist, like Sara, and receive personalized service and enjoy follow-up conversations with the same staff member. To go a step further, churches can even request a presentation about investment options and a staff member like TMF’s Director of Investment Services, Derek Casteel, will offer a customized presentation.

This highly personalized service is a TMF tradition and one of the pillars of our work. As Derek often reminds the churches we serve, “As a charitable nonprofit, TMF isn’t beholden to outside shareholders demanding an ever-increasing stream of cash dividends. Consequently, we have the ability to reinvest 100% of our revenue in services designed to support churches and members of their constituent communities. Moreover, unlike many competing providers of financial advisory services, TMF staff aren’t incentivized to offer one investment product over another, which we believe ensures an alignment of interests with our investors.”