2020 Annual Report
The Brethren in Christ Foundation (Foundation) exists to serve the Brethren in Christ U.S. (BIC U.S.) its congregations and members through lending, investing and planned giving. At almost 50 years old, the Foundation continues to meet these needs as well as other needs throughout the denomination. We will continue to evolve and adapt to ensure the continued service and support to the BIC U.S.
The overall value of the Foundation’s loan portfolio decreased by $1.55 million. Much of this amount was from payoffs received on 4 loans. Also, several churches sent significant extra principal payments during the year. This additional cash enabled us to close 3 new loans and provide additional funds on ongoing construction loans. The additional cash has also relieved some of the pressure on our ability to continue to fund new loans. We are currently processing approximately $1.9 million in new loans across multiple regions within the BIC U.S.
Our securities offerings increased slightly in 2019. In order to retain our place in today’s competitive marketplace, we continue to modernize the way in which we do business. We have recently updated our online investment portal. The first phase of this upgrade has given us the capability to process certain transactions online. We will continue to invest in upgrading our online presence to become a full-service online option for our members.
In conjunction with this upgrade in systems, we are developing marketing plans that focus on younger investors and church-wide organizations.
BIC U.S. Support
The Foundation’s Board of Directors adopted a new Discretionary Contribution Plan for contributions to the BIC U.S. In the past, the Foundation would only send contributions from the Loan Fund. Staff and the Board have been reluctant to provide a contribution from the Loan Fund in order to protect the assets of our investors. The Loan Fund has over $8.0 Million in Net Assets without Donor Restriction. We feel it is necessary to continue to grow the fund balance at a moderate rate given the current demographics of our securities portfolio.
The Foundation has a desire to support the ministry of the BIC U.S. Therefore, the Board has adopted a plan for funding current and potential future contributions to BIC U.S.:
In 2019, the Board of Directors of the Foundation made a one-time discretionary contribution of $200,000 from Trust Fund operations to the General Conference’s Honor the Past: Build the Future Campaign and an undesignated discretionary contribution of $49,764 from the Brotherhood Loan Fund to the General Conference. Additionally, effective as of December 31, 2019, the Board of Directors of the Foundation adopted policies to designate, on an annual basis, the Trust Fund’s net operating excess, if any, for the benefit of the General Conference; provided that, as of the time of such designation, net assets without donor restrictions of the Trust Fund are no less than an amount equal to the five (5) years historical average of the Trust Fund’s annual operating expenses, and (b) continue its policy not to make discretionary contributions from the Brotherhood Loan Fund if the ratio of outstanding obligations to our investors to net assets of the Brotherhood Loan Fund is greater than 8 to 1. The Board further clarified that all contributions from the Foundation are purely discretionary and are subject to annual review.
The Foundation contracted with DiscipleData, Inc. (DDI) for a new operational software package. DDI specializes in serving church extension funds such as the Foundation.
Staff began the conversion process in April of 2019 with a “Go Live” date of September 1, 2019. Our new on-line portal was activated in December 2019. Foundation staff has worked extremely hard to make our new system the best possible for our clients. If you are a current investor or borrower, we encourage you to visit our website and explore our new client portal.
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