In 2021 the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan provided over $100,000 in scholarships and $24,000 in virtual technology grants supporting pastors and local churches. And that’s not all.
President & Executive Direction, United Methodist Foundation of Michigan
Since 1926 the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan has been coming alongside congregations to help them live into their purpose. 2021 was no exception! Despite the continuation and challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we sought to provide innovative resources and traditional services to enrich the mission of the Church.
We recognize that building the financial strength of local churches is of paramount importance. This ministry has been and continues to be at the very core of our ministry. We partner with an increasing number of account holders to provide value-aligned investment counsel. In fact, our assets under management have grown by more than 2.5 times over the past decade – now exceeding $155,000,000. In addition, the permanent funds which are comprised of trusts, legacy gifts, and other designated contributions have proliferated to an all-time high of $11,500,000.
This past year was a strong year for investment performance. UMF Collective Funds of Michigan LLC persuasively outperformed its respective benchmarks. The Balanced Fund, our most popular, value-aligned investment choice, gained nearly 15% in 2021. The Stock Fund (+22.12%) and the Bond Fund (+0.87%) rounded out a year of solid advancement. One of our goals is to partner with local churches by offering unparalleled ESG investments which strictly adhere to Wesleyan social principles.
“The United Methodist Foundation of Michigan changes lives. Your support has a long-term impact on me and the people whom I will be serving.” ~ Pastor Beatrice Alghali
We were excited to provide several dozen first-time grants to smaller congregations. These virtual technology grants supported online worship efforts and totaled nearly $24,000. This past year was another banner year for our seminary scholarships. By providing over $100,000 in scholarships, we helped a diverse community of future and current pastors avoid debt and meet their educational goals. Without our generous support as a matching partner, some students would not be able to pursue their academic goals. As Beatrice Alghali commented, “You change lives. Your support has a long-term impact on me and the people whom I will be serving.”
Last year, one of our most innovative partnerships was a joint venture with Bishop David Bard, the Appointive Cabinet, and Dakotas Wesleyan University. We sponsored a highly intensive learning cohort, Stewarding the Church in the 21st Century. Taught by DWU faculty, this academically and practically rigorous course strengthens the ability of pastors to lead mission-focused, financially healthy, congregationally engaged churches. Moreover, participants are halfway toward receiving an MBA upon completion of this course.
We also expanded resources last year by offering more leadership coaching and by increasing our online learning cohorts. The Generous Church Leadership Course is designed to help pastors and church leaders think about stewardship and generosity ministry from a holistic perspective. In addition, we introduced a new resource, Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being. This six-session, Wesleyan rooted class mentors participants in the creation of a faith-based personal spending plan.
We remain poised to grow our services in 2022. We will be expanding our online worship resources to include offering invitations, generosity-based litanies, and stewardship-themed sermon outlines. These online resources will complement our very popular lectionary-based offertory prayers. Furthermore, we will expand our robust capacity to award grants and scholarships by tipping the $500,000 mark in 2022. We also will introduce a generosity audit for local churches. This service will focus on adopting best practices for local church financial stewardship and may include a comprehensive consultation with Horizons Stewardship and their Next Level Generosity platform. Finally, we have entered the developmental stages of piloting the Foundation’s Financial Well-Being Initiative for Pastors which will include as its centerpiece a low-interest student loan repayment plan.
Watch a video presentation of this 2021 Annual Review here. Visit our website regularly to learn more about these and other opportunities. www.UMFMichigan.org