2019 Annual Report
The Brethren in Christ Foundation, Inc. (Foundation) exists to serve the Brethren in Christ U.S. (BIC U.S.) its congregations and members through lending, investing and planned giving. The Foundation has helped congregations large and small, old and new continue to grow and serve God’s Kingdom for over 45 years. Our members have made it possible to meet this need through faithful investing and giving.
During the last three years, the Foundation has focused on improving our internal processes, increasing our visibility throughout the BIC U.S. and expanding the services offered to the denomination. We have made great progress, there remains a great deal more to accomplish. We look forward to the challenges the future holds.
The loan portfolio continued to grow during 2018. We funded 15 new loans totaling $6.3 million. Seven of these loans went to churches or BIC U.S. institutions and eight went to pastors for purchase and repairs to their homes. The Foundation’s loan portfolio grew by a net of $3.3 Million or 8.8%. We funded loans in all but one Regional Conference. Many of these loans were for projects the typical commercial lender or bank would shy away from or would charge a much higher rate to fund. Each project has served to strengthen our church family and those we serve in the community.
While the Foundation has focused on growing our loan portfolio, the growth has put significant pressure on our ability to lend in the future. Our desire is to spread the available funds for loans to as many ministries throughout the BIC U.S. This may mean redirecting some churches with large loans to another funding source.
Our debt securities grew by just over $1 million in 2018. While any growth is positive, the majority of this increase has come from the denomination or regional conferences. Our individual investor demographic continues to get older each year. These loyal investors will begin to need their investments for support. We must be prepared for this eventuality. You will see later in my report the focus for the future will be attracting new investors both individual and organizations. In order to keep our ministry viable, it is essential to attract a new breed of investor.
The Foundation continues to support our local congregations with their outreach efforts through our Matching Grant program. During 2018, we funded 27 grants for 20 different congregations in every Regional Conference. We continue encourage our congregations to “think outside the box” when considering their grant applications. Experience says the more creative an initiative, more interest is generated and results are multiplied.
The Foundation staff and Board have set a number of ambitious goals for 2019 and beyond.
Although the Foundation has been around for many years, our name recognition throughout the denomination is lacking. What knowledge churches and congregants do have tends to be limited to our loan program. Therefore, it is necessary to increase awareness throughout the BIC U.S.
- Develop a multi-level strategy to target churches.
- Develop a multi-level strategy to target individuals
- The Foundation will evaluate possible new product offerings for 2019 and beyond.
In order to stay relevant in today’s environment, we must continually update our systems both on an operational and accessible level.
- Customer experience
- If we are to attract and maintain investors, we must provide an experience that is more in-line with today’s technological environment.
- We will have the ability to view account holdings, manage investments and make investment purchases and withdrawals.
- By year-end 2019, have on-line customer access comparable to today’s standards.
I would like to thank the staff of the Foundation for their dedication to our mission. They continue to provide the best service to our constituents. As the Foundation evolves, they will remain the most important resource for our members.
Your partner in ministry,
Jim Reynolds, Executive Director
Brethren in Christ Foundation