What Have the MMFA Trustees Been Up To?

I will briefly talk about something that may not seem as exciting as images of Moravian churches and stars, stained glass windows, or Moravian ministry all over the world, but it is vitally important in all we do: the governance of a $150,000,000 and growing charitable organization called the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America.

On Saturday, May 2, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees met at Grace Moravian Church in beautiful Mt. Airy, NC. They meet twice a year, rotating between the Northern and Southern Provinces.

In addition to the usual staff and committee reports, two important duties of the Board were manifest.

The first had to do with the “care and custody” function. The Foundation’s annual audit was presented (each Trustee received a copy in advance and the Finance Committee Chair went through it and responded to questions). An audit is much more than making sure the numbers add up correctly; it is an independent and thorough examination of all matters relating to the money and assets the Foundation holds, takes in, and pays out. This includes policies and procedures, documents and records, and verification that what is shown in our records can be verified by an independent source. The auditor works for and reports to the Trustees. We were very pleased our auditor did not find any management issues of any concern to report, as this means the Foundation is a well-run organization.

The second matter related to policy-setting and governance.

Our Trustees do not get involved in the Foundation's daily operations; rather, they set policy and strategic direction. The staff is empowered to marshal the available resources (monetary and man/womanpower) and faithfully carries these matters out, while reporting on progress, problems, and outcomes. Staff often make policy recommendations, but we do not set policies.  

After six months of study and reports, a major policy matter involving a proposed new program and collaboration was placed upon the table for discussion. The policy questions were seemingly simply:

  • Is this effort within the scope and purpose of the Foundation? 
  • Will it compliment or detract from the work of the Foundation?
  • Will it help the Church?  
  • How much will it cost and where will the resources come from to support it?
  • Finally, should the Foundation do it?

For two hours there was a respectful and thoughtful discussion; in other words, the Trustees did what they are supposed to do. Finally, the matter was brought to a vote and unanimously approved. Staff are now empowered and will faithfully implement it and report on progress, problems, and outcomes.

Besides care and custody and policy-making, the third most important job of the Board is hiring, assessing, and replacing the President of the Foundation. The Trustees undertake an annual review at the fall meeting.

The bottom line is the Foundation is not only well-managed, but well-governed, which is why we have generated over $100,000,000 for more ministry.