Our Guiding Principle: Transparency
By: Sid Johnston
“One of the hallmarks of our denomination is a structure and practice of openness, transparency, and inclusion to almost all church matters. Transparency with financial matters builds trust between the congregation and the various committees and leaders that are elected…. Full transparency can result in greater financial stewardship through the reassurance it provides that monetary gifts are being used appropriately.”
This statement opened a white paper about finances and transparency authored by Ross Williams, a leader of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church. The Foundation board is dedicated to public education about how the Foundation works and increasing access to information. The goal is to share details about the Foundation’s efforts to grow both its endowment and the returns generated and released annually to the First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth, the Foundation’s sole beneficiary. This September blog will give you a quick overview of how we assure transparency.
All financial statements and accounts must undergo an annual audit to provide a full and complete report. The audit for 2019, which can be found on our website, took place during the summer and went smoothly. Also, most charitable nonprofits are required to file an IRS Form 990 every year. Our 990 allows the IRS and public to evaluate how we are operating. The return also includes the Foundation’s mission, programs, and finances. The Foundation’s 990 and 990-T are posted on our website.
Financial reporting is overseen by our Board of Directors. The Board (all of whom are members of our Church) work tirelessly to keep the endowment operations efficient and to safeguard funds so they can grow and generate income for the Church in perpetuity. The Board approves the Foundation’s annual budget and selects the banks and financial institutions the Foundation uses. We’re fortunate to have the individual and collective business expertise of our Board members as they clearly direct and carefully track investment and funding policy. Then, as the professional executive director, I have the honor of assuring day-to-day activities that support and execute their decisions to run smoothly. That internally-managed oil and gas operations s are carefully tracked and administered.
Notably, following the mandate of our 501(c)(3), Type III designation, the 3.5% amount released to the Church annually is spent in ways the Church leadership decides is most important for the ongoing maintenance of Church facilities and continual support of the Church’s mission. Our website is full of valuable information, a look at our history, details about projects and events, planned giving, and a Q&A to provide answers to various questions.
On September 30, 2020, First Methodist Church of Fort Worth Foundation marks its 56th anniversary. This milestone provides an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate the success of our Founders’ collective vision and the many donors who helped grow our Foundation! The purpose of our Foundation is to develop and maintain a growing endowment fund to provide our Church with ongoing, enduring financial support through income generated legacy giving from bequests, generous gifts, memorials, and honoraria. We are so pleased to continue the Foundation legacy of timeless support.