JEFFERSON CITY – Trustees of the Missouri Baptist Foundation met on May 17th to hear reports on investment returns, approve management of properties donated to advance the Gospel, award multiple academic scholarships, and participate in a session on board governance.
Trustee, Dan Case, CPA, CTP, led the board in a devotion on Philippians 4:6-7. Mr. Case brings extensive knowledge to the board in his service on the Endowment Management Committee, which affirmed its current Investment Policy at this meeting. Dan is a Private Equity/Private Credit Portfolio Manager for the Public School Retirement System. Dr. Neil Franks said, “Dan’s service on MBF board at this time is God ordained given MBF increasing allocation to alternative investment strategies.”
After a down turn affected broad investment performance at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, the markets regained their positions this spring. Brian Cohen, MBF OCIO remains confident in the policies and strategies as established by the board. “Our current portfolio positioning is to be neutral to target from an equity/fixed income perspective. As long-term investors, we believe short-term volatility is not our greatest risk and therefore have constructed a portfolio, which can tolerate such risk. While the drawdown experienced in the fourth quarter of 2018 created some cause for concern, the portfolio benefitted by maintaining its positioning and being invested for the rebound in the first quarter of 2019.”
Discussions about asset allocation, fund performance and future market conditions continued during the Foundation’s Endowment Management Committee. Shelly Vaughn, COO presented survey results regarding distributions from endowments when market values fall below their original contributions, also known as historic dollar value (HDV). According to the surveys and in compliance with the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA), managers of endowment can distribute according to their spending policy or limit up to the 100% of the payout. MBF believes that in down markets ministries may need their full payout more than ever. A recommendation to allow the full spending policy as a distribution from endowments under their Historic Dollar Value (HDV), was received, passed, presented to the full board, and approved. Staff Investment Review Committee will continue to comply with the UPMIFA, monitor market conditions and return to the board after additional research to evaluate the need to enforce a threshold where a distribution might need to be limited.
The Development and Promotion Committee spent most of their time reviewing applications for the seven newly created Missouri Baptist Foundation Christian Higher Education Scholarships. MBF President Franks commented, “Although slow at first, the applications began pouring in, with a total of 54 received by the March 31 deadline. Reviewing that many essays was a daunting task taken on by our committee, but we were surely the ones blessed. We have so many talented and committed students who see the benefits of Christian Higher Education.”
After meeting in Executive Session, the Board announced a reallocation of grants to aid each applicant. President Franks noted, “We only have enough funds to provide seven of the $2,000 scholarships, but our generous board allocated almost an additional $12,000 to ensure that each applicant would receive a $250 grant from the Foundation to be applied to their Christian education. While we may not be able to do that every year, we wanted to celebrate this new opportunity for MBF and affirm our first year applicants. I believe that if Missouri Baptists really saw the need, they would be generous in giving more, either out of their pockets or by making a plan to give out of their estates. I hope there are many inspired by this story who will reach out to the Missouri Baptist Foundation and ask how they can help provide more scholarships to our Baptist students attending or wanting to attend one of the great Baptist Universities in our state.”
Other points of business included the many new church clients that MBF is able to serve. Dr. Franks reiterated, “these are very good days for MBF. We are able to serve many new clients because of MBF Church loans and MBF Cash Fund, which is fully FDIC insured with a May rate of 2.55%.
The Missouri Baptist Foundation objective is to change the world by developing a revolution of resources to Advance the Gospel. The goal of Missouri Baptist Foundation is that every Missouri Baptist will have an estate plan that leaves a gift to a Gospel Advancing Ministry.
The next meeting of the Board will be on August 9th.