Posts Tagged ‘Endowment Fund’

FBC Endowment Fund Inc.

By Jim Norvelle

In December 1910, the Pastor at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, Dr. George W. McDaniel, announced in his annual message to the congregation that two elderly members “of moderate means” had made a generous donation to create an endowment fund.

During the 110 years since then, bequests, gifts, and wise and careful management of those gifts have enabled the First Baptist Church Endowment Fund Inc. to fulfill its purpose—to support the missions and ministries of the church.

The Endowment Fund supports eight ministries of the church, along with the church’s capital needs such as infrastructure and equipment:

FBC Community Ministry — The fund provides 50 percent of the annual operating budget for the church’s Community Ministry. This includes The Farms at Charlotte Acres, Food Pantry, Clothes Closet, Shower Ministry and Grace Fellowship, among others.

The Farms at Charlotte Acres
The Farms at Charlotte Acres

Television and Communication Ministry — In 1991, an anonymous donor contributed a very significant sum for support of the television ministry and other programs. Today the fund provides 80 percent of the operating budget of this ministry.

Music Ministry — The fund supports major capital needs such as renovation of the Sanctuary organ, purchase of other instruments, and choir concert tours and mission trips.

Education and Scholarship — Over the years, church members and Bible classes have donated funds for the church’s Scholarship Team to distribute to college undergraduate and seminary students. While investing and administering those dollars, the fund also contributes to the First Baptist Preschool, the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, Bluefield College, the Virginia Union University School of Theology and others.

New Churches — The fund supports new churches in the greater Richmond area, Virginia and beyond.

Missions — First Baptist Church has been a missions-focused church throughout its history, and offers national and international mission opportunities to its youth and adult members throughout the year. The fund provides up to 50 percent of the cost to church members going on first time mission trips and some supplies. It supports annual summer youth mission trips and has provided up to 50 percent of the cost for youth to attend Baptist World Alliance Youth Conferences, which occur every five years. The fund also supports the River City Faith Network, the Baptist General Association of Virginia and its entities and the Baptist World Alliance.

families on mission
Students on mission

Recreation Ministry — The fund supports the church’s activities and programs such as basketball leagues, volleyball, pickleball and summer camps for children.

Richmond Community Ministry Missions — The fund provides support for more than a dozen local ministries (particularly for those providing food and shelter), the Boy Scouts, the Virginia Home, and the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls.

The Endowment Fund also provided the resources for the 2020 Vision Project, such as The Farms at Charlotte Acres.

A board of managers, all members of the church, determines the fund’s investment policy and how to distribute its resources. The board members are: Susan Beach, Kim Boys (treasurer), Virginia Darnell (secretary), Charlotte Evans, Linn Kreckman, Mark Larson, Michael Lipford (vice president), James “Jim” Markham, Burton “Mac” Marshall, Jim Norvelle (president), Julia Scott, Clint Smith, Lee Stephenson and Charles Tilley. Carl Johnson is president emeritus. Our pastor, Dr. Jim Somerville, serves as consultant to the board.

Two other church members serve for one year as visiting board members to increase the awareness of the Endowment Fund among the church. This year’s visiting board members are Leslie Beale and Ralph Brickey.

FBC seeks your contributions to the Endowment Fund and its planned giving ministry in the form of gifts, bequests, investment securities or property. For more information, please contact Jim Norvelle, president, or Kim Boys, treasurer, FBC Endowment Fund Inc., in care of the church finance office.

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Story by Mimi Bennett

Who would imagine that Deuteronomy 29:29 (The secret things belong to the Lord but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever…) could have been written as the vision statement of the FBC Scholarship Fund Team? Do you know who they are? Or what they do? It is an amazing and gratifying story.

calloutThe FBC Scholarship Fund has been in existence since the 1930s but the details of its inception have been lost to history. Yet, since that time, college bound FBC students have been awarded scholarships year in and year out. All the funds have come from FBC members, some unrestricted and some with specific stipulations. Carl Johnson, President of the Endowment Fund, which manages the investment of the scholarship funds, reports that they currently stand at about two million dollars. This comprises approximately 10% of the church’s total endowment. Each year an amount equivalent to 5% of the Scholarship Fund is awarded to students. In 2017, this will be a little more than $100,000.

FBC's Best Kept Secret

Chaired by Jim Markham, the dedicated members of this standing committee are Sue Atkins, Susan Hughes, Bart Dalton, Jim Norvelle, Martha Selden, and Richard Szucs. They have worked together for many years and annually review all applications submitted and determine the amount of each award.  Amounts vary according to a point system and are confidential, but virtually everyone receives something. As the team works through their process, they consider such things as active FBC involvement, church membership, GPA, family income, how many other college students may be in a family, and the applicant’s year in college. Extra points are awarded if the student will be a college freshman and bonus points are awarded to those who are in seminary. Students must submit an application annually to be considered for continuing funds.

The work of this ministry begins in mid-December when high school seniors are sent a letter inviting them to apply for a scholarship. In January, an informational meeting for students and their families is held to clarify the process and answer any questions. Information and deadlines are available on the FBC website under the Communities tab and are published in the Sunday bulletin and First Family News. Applications are submitted online and the deadline must be adhered to strictly. No application will be looked at that is submitted after the published deadline. This year that date is May 1.

The work of the FBC Scholarship Fund Team begins in earnest once the deadline passes. Through the spring, all the information is prayerfully and carefully reviewed and decisions reached by unanimous consent. Hope Cumbia is the lynchpin here. She assembles all the applications and organizes them for team members to use as they determine each scholarship. Once students are notified about their awards, Hope coordinates sending the checks directly to the individual colleges and schools. In the past 18 years, $1,400,000 has been awarded to 840 FBC students. This is a remarkable achievement.

FBC’s steadfast commitment to provide financial assistance toward the education of its students is not truly a secret. The Scholarship Fund Team, however, operates below the radar for many. Now that this ministry has been revealed to us all, it belongs to us all and to our children forever. The opportunity to contribute to the future is compelling.

Editor’s note: For more information contact Jim Markham (804-261-5527) or any other team member.

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By Charles Tilley. Photos by Janet Chase and Allen Cumbia.

calloutThe Sanctuary of Richmond’s First Baptist Church serves as space for more than 200 events annually, including worship services, weddings, funerals, preschool services, community gatherings, and concerts. Approximately 50,000 people attend these events during an average year.

This amount of use has taken a toll on the Sanctuary’s interior finishes. Cracked plaster, peeling paint, and worn carpet and pew cushions are all signs of the need for a makeover.

This summer the 20-year-old paint job and three decades-old carpet will be two of the most visible improvements. Other maintenance items and related tasks will be addressed in this comprehensive improvements project. A team of FBC lay and staff, including architects and members of the facilities, worship and media teams, has identified the following items in the Sanctuary and Narthex for maintenance, renovation or upgrade:

  • plaster patching and painting of all walls and ceiling surfaces;
  • minor refinishing of wood surfaces – balcony rail, pews, pulpit furniture, etc.;
  • replacement of pew cushions and choir loft chair repair and fabric replacement;
    floor finish replacement – replacement of carpet in aisles only;
  • porcelain tile under the pews on the first floor and resilient tile under the balcony pews;
  • lighting – improvements particularly under the balcony and in the Narthex;
  • installation of a hearing aid loop that will provide wireless, assisted-listening capability;
  • slate roof maintenance (some of the interior finish issues have been due to roof leaks).

The general contractor will prepare the final cost estimates during early May. Work will begin on June 2, with a proposed completion date of August 22. During these summer months, FBC’s congregation will worship in the gymnasium. This transition will be overseen by the FBC worship and facilities teams.

The Sanctuary restoration is underwritten by the FBC Endowment Fund. This gift from the Endowment is its contribution to and endorsement of a Capital Campaign expected to begin in 2015. With the Campaign’s first step taken through this restoration, FBC members will then participate through time and financial contributions to the remainder of the projects.

Sanctuary Restoration Team members: Allen Cumbia, Jeff Dortch, Bill Hundley, Mark Larson, Bill Loving, Phil Mitchell, Richard Szucs, Charles Tilley, Lu Treadwell, Lynn Turner, and Bonnie Wilmoth.

CCharles Tilleyharles Tilley teaches 9th grade Youth Two Sunday school, serves as a deacon, and is on the Sanctuary Restoration Team. He and his wife, Gwen, have three daughters, Emma, Virginia and Mae.

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By Jeannie Dortch.

Jim Somerville reminds First Baptist Church members frequently that there are a thousand ways to bring heaven to earth, in Richmond and throughout the world. One of them is giving to FBC’s Endowment Fund. This Fund was established in 1913 with small gifts left by two members who foresaw the potential their generosity held for the future.

Woods and MCV Wood Memorial Building

Dr. Judson Wood and his wife, Mrs. Bettie Davis Wood. An unexpected windfall from FBC member, Judson B. Wood, allowed the Medical College
of Virginia to build their School of Dentistry’s Wood Memorial Building.
The building was dedicated January, 1954.
Photos from http://www.dentistry.vcu.edu/pdfs/winter2008_mag.pdf.

In 1938, the Endowment’s resources increased considerably with Bettie Davis Wood’s bequest of more than $1,000,000. This gift, however, was not initially earmarked for FBC. The story of how it came to the church demonstrates the effect of seemingly unconnected events.

An unpopular professor at Richmond College (now the University of Richmond) was fed up with one particular prank. His students persisted in bringing a small dog to class. One day, strained to his limit, the professor ordered the dog dropped out the window, a distance of about ten feet to the ground. Knowing this to be a possibility, the students had asked a cohort to stand guard under the window. The dog was safely caught, but the incident was reported to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Dr. Judson Wood, husband of Bettie Wood, was a graduate of Richmond College, president of its Alumnae Association, one of the first graduate dentists to practice in Richmond, and also president of the local chapter of the SPCA. Incensed by the dog incident, he felt duty-bound to sue his alma mater. Since the dog was not injured, the court dismissed the case, but Dr. Wood cut off all relations with Richmond College, an intended beneficiary, and changed his will. At his death, over a million dollars was left to the Medical College of Virginia instead of Richmond College.

A million bucks out the window

Photo by Dean Hawthorne. “The Annunciation to Mary” is one of two windows dedicated “In Grateful remembrance of Dr. and Mrs. Judson Wood” by the First Baptist Church Endowment Fund. It is located on the east side of the main floor of the Sanctuary and is the second window from the Monument Avenue entrance.
Its companion window, “The Gifts of God,”
is in the corresponding position in the balcony.

Efforts by Frederick W. Boatwright, president of Richmond College, to conciliate Mrs. Wood and win back her favor – and money – proved fruitless. Mrs. Wood, a lifelong member of FBC, was married to Dr. Wood for 47 years. With no children of their own, the Woods focused much of their service on their church, which she chose as her beneficiary. When she died in 1938, Mrs. Wood bequeathed more than one million dollars to FBC. It was only after Mrs. Wood’s death that President Boatwright, also an FBC member, shared this story of how the Woods’ fortune was tossed out the window.

Author’s note: Pamphlets related to the history and ministries supported by the Endowment Fund can be found in the church kiosks. Copies of the fully illustrated Memorial Windows written by Theodore F. Adams and The Open Door, the church’s history from 1780-2005, are available for checkout or purchase in the church library.

Editor’s note: According to FBC Endowment Board President Carl Johnson, this fund began with small donations and grew with gifts from the Woods and many others. It expressed its appreciation for the Woods’ gift and service with the dedication of two windows in the sanctuary, “The Annunciation to Mary” and its companion, “The Gifts of God” in 1949. The Endowment Fund continues to help First Baptist fulfill its mission, giving away $22,000,000 in just the past 20 years.

Jeannie DortchJeannie Dortch joined FBC in 1974 after being lovingly mentored by the members of Buddy Hamilton’s Sunday school class. A grandmother of four, Jeannie has served as a deacon, taught in our children’s, youth, international, and adult Sunday school departments, but is presently a member of the WebClass. A retired teacher, Jeannie enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, ringing bells with FBC’s newly formed senior adult Joy Ringers directed by Ruth Szucs, and writing articles for FTF.

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