Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America? The MMFA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation chartered in the state of North Carolina for the purposes of financially supporting the work and ministries of churches and agencies in the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America.
We do this with three programs:
- GiftLegacy, which works with individuals to help them make planned and outright charitable gifts;
- The Moravian Common Fund, an investment management service available to Moravian churches and agencies; and
- Morning Star, our fee for service development consulting services for church and agencies that want to undertake capital fund drives and strengthen on-going support through “plate giving.”
How old is the Foundation? The work of the MMFA began in August 1997, but it was legally created and organized in 1998, after the actions of both the Northern and Southern Province Synods directing the PECs to work together to create the Foundation.
Who “owns” the Foundation? Under IRS rules, every charity has members. The members are the people or organization(s) that appoint the Trustees who govern the charity. The members also approve any changes to the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. For the MMFA, those members are the Provincials Elders’ Conferences of the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. There is an annual meeting of the members to receive reports and to discuss the Foundation’s actions and activities. The Foundation also presents a report at both Provincial Synods.
Who governs the MMFA and how are they appointed? The Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees who are selected by the members, that is, the two PEC’s, which select five trustees each from the two Provinces of the Church. Trustees’ terms are limited to two four-year terms, with the Chair rotating between representatives of the Provinces every two years. The Trustees hire the President, who is the CEO, who hires the staff.
How is the MMFA funded? The MMFA is funded through the investment management fees charged against the assets held in the Common Fund, and through the provision of contractual services offered by Morning Star Campaign Services. There are no fees or charges to individuals for the services provided in aiding them in considering or creating a planned or outright gift through the Foundation’s GiftLegacy service.
Does the Foundation ask for donations from individuals? NO! In fact, the policies of the Foundation prohibit any one-on-one gift solicitation and any fundraising on behalf of the Foundation. We educate people about planned and outright giving, and only contact people after they have expressed an interest in gift giving.
Why does the Foundation charge for Morning Star services to churches, but does not charge for its work with individuals? Morning Star is a highly specialized and labor intensive program. While there is a basic structure and strategy, each church and agency has an unique personality and set of needs. Furthermore, the Foundation has found that when churches and agencies pay for the service, everyone takes the process more seriously. The fees are quiet reasonable and well below what comparable for-profit firms charge.
Does the Moravian Common Fund use socially responsible screening in the investment of assets? No. At the outset, the Trustees discussed this issue and concluded that there were many Moravians who were employed by or were retired from companies that might not meet the “SRI” screens; and to exclude these companies was simply not right for the Foundation to do.
How does the Foundation assess the performance of the Moravian Common Fund’s investment counsel and management? The Foundation employs a variety of tools to evaluate the Investment Manager. One set is the relative performance against the performance of the stock and bond markets. Over the long term, we expect to outperform the major indices. Another tool annually compares the reported performance of a diverse peer group of faith-based and community foundations to the Common Fund. Lastly, the Foundation periodically surveys the churches and agencies that invest in the Common Fund and asks their opinions.