I am three weeks in and I absolutely love my new role as President of the Moravian Ministries Foundation. So far in my tenure I have met a team of talented people, Laura, Kara and our Board of Trustees, who have supported philanthropy at MMFA and who are committed to the work. I have encountered an outgoing president, Paul, who has welcomed me with such willingness to teach me and encourage me as I grow into the leader of this fine organization which he has loved and cherished over the past 20 years. I have also had the pleasure of meeting many fine Moravians and starting to learn their stories and their commitment not only to their faith, but also to sustaining the church and its various ministries. I feel as if I have been entrusted with a gift, and I am extremely thankful for this opportunity. I also look forward to meeting all of you in the near future and working with you, your churches and all of the various ministries to continue to write your stories and chart a course for the future.
Giving USA just released their 2016 report on charitable contributions and all charitable subsectors saw increases in contributions for last year, with Religion still being the largest sector at 32%. According to their report, individuals increased their giving by 3.9% across the landscape of philanthropy. Giving to religion increased 3% versus 2015 data (measured in current dollars). In fact, contributions to religion totaled the highest inflation-adjusted amount recorded to date. There is much to celebrate, but we must recognize that trends are changing and the needs still out-weigh the means. There are still those in our world who do not know Christ. There are still those who go to bed hungry or hurting. There is poverty, shame, and lost opportunity in our own communities, throughout our country, and around the world. The current generation views giving differently and they see their role in the church differently than many who have walked before them. Organized religion faces challenges from all fronts and the needs are great.
June 1, 2017 was a new start for me and what I hope will be the beginning of many years in this unique work and ministry. We will continue the great work at the Moravian Ministries Foundation supporting your investments, continuing to help with planning and working to create new opportunities for individuals and groups to enhance their philanthropy. It is important to know the impact that we are already making and we will work to analyze that within the foundation’s realm and provide insight to the great things already happening. It is my hope that you join in this journey with me and we commit to a life of ministry not only in our worship but also in our giving. In closing, I would like you to consider these questions: what footprints do you want to make on the world and what change do you want to make? It is my hope that as you consider this, you will also reflect on how your answers to those questions aid in the work of the church and the ministries you love and support. Give me a call. I would love to hear your story and help ensure your philanthropic plans best meet your specific hopes in fulfilling the difference you would like to make in the world through the Moravian Church. God Bless!
- Source: GIVING USA 2016 Highlights – IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, June 2017.