July 29, 2019
TMF is more than just a foundation; it’s a trusted organization with staff who truly go the extra mile for their donors. Helen Crews, a TMF donor, investor, and longtime Methodist, believes this as much as anyone.
As a young bride, Helen began attending the United Methodist Church with her husband, George, a lifelong Methodist. She was drawn to the church because of their social outreach, but they did not become active church members immediately.
After ten years of marriage, the couple decided to grow their family through adoption. In 1967, they adopted their daughter Cami from the Methodist Mission Home. She was only one-week-old when they were able to take her home. Three years later, they adopted their son Kyle as an infant as well. When Helen became a mother, she realized the importance of a spiritual foundation would have on her children and wanted to ensure they had that foundation. Soon after, their church participation as a family increased and she became passionate about keeping her children involved.
After moving to Brownwood in 1969, Helen and George immersed themselves in the life of the church, and Helen took a special interest in youth and children’s ministry.
She started teaching a Sunday School class and before long she was leading the Sunday School program as the Superintendent. In 1971, she and two other women came together to develop a weekday preschool for the community, which has continuously served the community since it was founded; she also started a Mother’s Day Out program.
Cami and Kyle were active participants in all of the children’s and youth ministries at FUMC Brownwood; they enjoyed church as much as their mom did. When Kyle was twelve, he asked if he could attend Glen Lake, a Methodist camp in the Central Texas Conference. He loved it so much, Kyle attended every year.
“It was a space for Kyle to grow. The free atmosphere among fellow youth, away from distraction, really allowed him to open up to his faith,” Helen shared. The camp became an opportunity for Helen to connect with her son and have conversations about faith, growing closer together in their Christian walk. “I will always remember how Kyle would mope around the house after returning from camp and he would tell me, ‘Mom, I’m camp sick.’”
Unfortunately, Kyle passed away when he was just seventeen, but the imprint camping ministry had made on his life and faith journey was undeniable.
Helen and George wanted to honor the impact it had on their son’s life. Initially, she and her husband made a donation to Glen Lake to improve the cabins. Not long after this gift, they used the money they had set aside for Kyle’s education to set up an endowed scholarship in his memory. They worked with TMF because George had been on the TMF board for many years and had developed deep personal connections with the staff and other board members.
Over the years and many life transitions, Helen still wanted to do more. When she finally decided to take a leap of commitment, she sat down with Charles Smith, a TMF foundation relations representative, and began the process of exploring how she could honor the charities and causes she loved. What resulted was a plan she was able to share with her attorney, which was included in her estate plan.
In memory of her son, Helen wanted to fund an endowment to support the summer camp that had made such a difference in his life and she wanted TMF to manage that endowment. Additionally, she wanted to fund another endowment to support ministries that were focused on youth but entrusted the decision-making to TMF’s Grants Ministry. As outlined in her will, each endowment will be fully funded after she passes away and will adhere to the endowment agreements already in place because of her work with Charles.
Considering the influence camp had on her son and his friends, Helen’s heart was spurred to give. She believed the impact on youth would continue for years to come if TMF was entrusted with these endowments. “I knew I wanted to make a long-term investment in the lives of children and youth. I decided I wanted to do this through TMF because they were solid professional advisors, who showed exceptional care for me.”
We are thankful Helen trusted us to keep the memory of her son alive through youth and camping ministries and that she believed our staff served her with extraordinary attention.
If you want Charles to walk you through your charitable giving options, with as much care and concern as he did for Helen, we invite you to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-583-1928 to start this journey.