Austin, TX – November 29, 2021
President Tom Locke announces plans to retire in 2022
Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) President Tom Locke has announced he will retire in 2022 after 33 years with the organization. In alignment with TMF’s intentional approach to succession planning and leadership transition, Locke will stay in office until his successor has officially joined the TMF team. In his remarks to the Board of Directors on November 22, he said, “This is an opportune time for this leadership transition to occur. TMF is in an extraordinarily strong financial position, the strongest of its history. The same can be said about the strength of the culture of the organization. Our core purpose and values are in our bones – deeply embedded in who we are. We are living into a rapidly changing and emerging denominational and church ministry landscape, with an expanding and evolving constituency. All of this calls for imaginative leadership that not only can see around the corner into this new environment but lead the organization forward into the future. This coincides with my own personal sense that the time is right for this transition to occur.”
Locke began his tenure at TMF as CFO/COO in May 1988 and assumed the presidency in May 1993. As the fourth president of TMF, Locke has led the organization through unprecedented growth in assets from $30 million to over $700 million, while increasing the organization’s Undesignated Endowment from $2.5 million to over $70 million. Locke managed the collaboration with the Central Texas, New Mexico, and Heartspring foundations to merge into one organization with more resources for serving congregations throughout Texas and New Mexico. He also participated in leadership discussions with the General Board of Global Ministries that resulted in transferring operations of the United Methodist Development Fund (now Wesleyan Investive) to TMF. But perhaps his most significant contribution is the creation of an aspirational culture of change for guiding the use of those resources – a culture that refuses to adjust to what is and constantly works toward what could be. “What would it be like if . . .” is a phrase that has characterized Locke’s leadership style and substance.
Those resources and that hunger to do more have resulted in groundbreaking initiatives during Locke’s tenure. With help from Lilly Endowment Inc., TMF expanded out beyond its financial services to provide peer learning groups for pastors and lay leaders, a model that continues today. Since 2003, Lilly Endowment has awarded five major grants to TMF totaling more than $5 million. These grants have supplemented TMF’s funding from net interest income and gifts to enable TMF to increase its investment in UMC leaders and create new opportunities for adaptive learning and change. These include Area Representative strategic discernment and purpose work with congregations and Leadership Ministry’s Courageous Leadership Imperative and Courageous Congregations Collaborative designed to equip high-capacity leaders for deep change through facilitating conversations of courage, learning, and innovation.
The naming of TMF’s Core Ideology – purpose and values – in the late 1990’s was a pivotal discovery, according to Locke. “We had been living out our purpose ‘to empower the Church in the achievement of its God-appointed mission’ through our core values of servanthood, integrity, and competence but naming them gave us the focus and clarity to make decisions about how to broaden our response to the needs of the Church,” he explained. “We began to think of ourselves as more of a ministry than a bank, for example. The relationships and trust built up over years by the unparalleled expertise and servanthood in our financial services are what opened up possibilities for launching new initiatives. Those new initiatives have, in turn, grown trust and relationships. That focus on purpose and values will enable TMF to thrive in the future and continue to address the challenges facing the Church.”
“We want to honor and thank Tom for his critical role in leading and strengthening TMF to be positioned for a bright future ahead through positive impact in our churches, communities, and beyond,” commented Teresa Keese, TMF board chair. “Through his guidance, Tom has built a significant legacy of financial growth; and more importantly, he has developed a strong culture focused on core values, integrity, and purpose throughout the organization and the United Methodist Church. His visionary leadership has taken TMF to new heights in becoming an exemplary edge organization, developing partnerships and guiding ministries in the pursuit of their God-appointed mission.” Clayton Oliphint, former board chair and chair of the selection committee added, “Because of Tom’s leadership in building such a purpose-driven organization, TMF is poised for a smooth transition of leadership as we prepare to enter into the future God has for us.”
A graduate of Texas A&M University, Locke also completed studies at the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. Prior to joining TMF, he spent five years as executive vice president of Georgetown National Bank overseeing the institution’s lending, personnel and investment matters. As a lifelong United Methodist, Tom’s appreciation for the outreach of the Church and other not-for-profit organizations is a vital part of his life. He currently sits on boards of Perkins School of Theology, Texas Wesleyan University, Project Transformation, and the Board of Visitors at McMurry University. He formerly served on the boards of the United Methodist Church Foundation, and the Board of Visitors at Southwestern University. He is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Georgetown where he has served in numerous leadership roles. Following his retirement, he and his wife Cindy plan to share their time between Georgetown and a home on family land near Honey Grove, Texas.
Tom Locke is also retiring as president of the Wesleyan Investive. His successor will assume the role of president for both TMF and Wesleyan Investive. A selection committee will soon name an executive search firm to begin a national search for the new president who they expect to welcome by mid-2022.
Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the Church to achieve its God-appointed mission, and living our values of servanthood, integrity and competence. TMF is the largest United Methodist foundation in the country offering assistance to United Methodists through investments, loans, grants, leadership platforms, gift planning, and endowment services. TMF serves the six United Methodist conferences throughout Texas and New Mexico. TMF is based in Austin, Texas. To learn more, please visit tmf-fdn.org.