We talk a great deal about giving and discuss the pros and cons about using the words “stewardship”, “faithful philanthropy”, or “grace, generosity and gratitude” to capture what people do when they are charitable and support their church or the work of Moravian agencies like the camps, missions, and seminary.
The other side of the giving equation focuses on the care and custody of these gifts. This duty has many dimensions, such as:
- Are gifts properly acknowledged?
- Are the gifts being used for the intended purpose?
- Do the givers want public recognition?
- In the case of gifts that are invested so the annual earnings support good works in perpetuity, are they properly invested?
Since a big part of our work involves managing the $150,000,000 plus invested funds owned by almost 100 churches and agencies (most of which came from members leaving bequests to the church or agency), we have a duty to make sure they are wisely and efficiently invested, produce the best returns, and meet any legal requirements imposed on charities (including churches) regarding investing funds.
Our program, the Moravian Common Fund, does all these things, which has led to its growth. But for us, the most exciting and rewarding part is hearing how the money is used. One donor, whose daughter died in auto accident in college, created a scholarship fund in her memory for kids to attend Laurel Ridge. Another donor created a scholarship fund in his wife’s name for Moravian youth graduating from Door County high schools to attend college. Another fund provides support to the Board of World Mission and its ministries overseas. I could go on, but the point is money and ministry go hand in hand, and one of our important jobs is to make sure Common Fund investments generate as much earnings and growth as possible. We feel we owe this to the churches and agencies that entrust us with their funds, and to the people who made these gifts.