July 27, 2017

On Thursday evening, July 13, the boards of both the Oakland First Baptist Foundation and the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Foundation had a very encouraging meeting with The Reverend Rick Barlow, Development Consultant with the American Baptist Foundation. The meeting reminded me that a word of support for the work of our foundations, as well as the work of the American Baptist Foundation, would be in order.

Founded in 1965, the Oakland First Baptist Foundation manages assets currently valued at $1,606,479. Its purpose is to “receive, invest and administer funds to assist the First Baptist Church of Oakland in its work of advancing the Christian faith and Christian practices in personal lives, in group relationships and in the community at large.” Currently, the OFBC Foundation supports the ministries of the Samaritan Neighborhood Center, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church and the Oakland Burmese Mission Baptist Church. Its 2017 financial commitment to LABC is $30,000. Jan Scott is the President of the OFBC Foundation Board.

Founded in 1985, the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Foundation has the same purpose statement as the OFBC Foundation (I wonder how that happened?) except that LABC is the named congregation. Currently, the LABC Foundation manages assets valued at $501,389.20. This is the first time the value of its assets has exceeded $500,000! This total includes:

  • The General Fund, supports the general budget of LABC, valued at $346,277.62. The 2017 financial commitment to LABC is $13,000.
  • The Cherie Claire Fund, supports youth and young adult participation in creative ministry endeavors, valued at $33,631.41.
  • The Lorimer Music Fund, supports LABC Ministry of Music, valued at $17,410.41.
  • The Romney Legacy Fund, to be used to support new ministries which reflect the spirit of Rod Romney, valued at $44,308.11.
  • The Scholarship Fund, supports the LABC Scholarship program, valued at $59,752.65.

The American Baptist Foundation manages these funds for LABC. Mark Wilson is the President of LABC Foundation Board.

Also founded in 1985, The American Baptist Foundation “manages charitable trusts, gift annuities, endowments, donor advised funds, investment accounts and other planned giving assets” to support ministries related to the American Baptist Churches USA. The total investment and endowment assets managed as of December 31, 2016 were $100.2 million. The promotional material for the American Baptist Foundation describes its purpose as “Connecting People Who Care To Ministries That Matter.” Perkin Simpson is the Executive Director of the AB Foundation. Behind all these numbers are some important beliefs. Among them:

  • We are stewards of assets given to us by God and part of that stewardship is paying attention to what happens to those assets when we die. They can be utilized to continue to support ministries that embody our values.
  • By the way we direct our assets to be distributed following our deaths, we can continue to have a voice in the communities we care about. While we do not seek a veto power in the lives of those communities, we can claim an ongoing voice.
  • We all need to be grateful to those who left gifts to support the ministries we are part of. Their generosity continues to shape us and encourage us.
  • As incoming ABSW President James Brenneman said to the ABSW constituency at American Baptist Mission Summit in Portland, “Where there is a will….we want to be in it.” The same can be said by OFBC and LABC.
  • Planned giving is an excellent method by which people who care stay connected to ministries that matter.

Peace,

Jim H.