When pioneers moved into the Great Plains in the 1850s, they were looking for the opportunity to build homes, start churches, and develop farms. They wanted to create communities. What they ended up establishing are some of the country’s most prolific farmlands, America’s breadbasket. These hardworking visionaries left a legacy of community development and faith.
The pioneering spirit that founded Kansas and Nebraska has continued to influence its residents and the communities they shape.
When the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation started discussions about partnering their loan portfolio with the United Methodist Development Fund, UMDF, President Dustin Petz and the board decided this partnership would broaden the scope of churches they were able to serve and enhance their capacity to focus on their greatest strengths.
“We were glad to pioneer this kind of relationship with UMDF,” Dustin shared. “As a smaller UMC foundation, we have a unique role to magnify the church’s capacity to leave a lasting impact. We wanted to partner with UMDF to gain from their staff’s expertise in loans and to focus on our greatest strength, which is legacy giving.”
The Kansas Foundation prides itself on providing excellent endowment and planned giving services, investment opportunities, and stewardship resources. They also pride themselves on offering loans that build new churches and renovate current ones. This serves the church receiving the loan, and the loan interest income the Kansas Foundation generates furthers the mission of the church, whereas loans from commercial lenders primarily benefit shareholders. Even though they have been serving both loan and legacy giving needs well, their loan ministry has been constrained by the Foundation’s size and a partnership could remedy those constraints.
“We believe this partnership will bolster the Kansas Foundation’s ability to focus on core strengths, while expanding the loan options for churches and ministries in the Great Plains Conference,” UMDF Vice President David McCaskill shared. “When UMDF has the chance to support a foundation’s mission objectives and simultaneously expand loan reach, we believe that is a partnership which benefits the entire church and one we should pursue.”
With their priorities in mind, the Kansas Foundation decided to partner with UMDF for their loan program, making UMDF the provider and servicer of their loans with the Foundation maintaining the primary relationship with local churches. Additionally, by continuing to offer Certificates of Participation throughout Kansas and Nebraska, the Kansas Foundation makes it possible for individuals, churches, and UMC related organizations to invest in these loans and the ministries they represent.
“With this partnership, we will be an asset of connections,” Dustin said. “It will allow us to make larger loans and a greater volume of loans than we could on our own, which means we have the ability to serve more churches, making this a strategic and vital partnership. One that I believe benefits the vibrant congregations in the Great Plains Conference as they seek to grow their ministries, reach their communities, and further the work of Christ.”
In this innovative partnership, Kansas and UMDF will join together in pursuit of strategic collaboration for growth. And, in this space of creativity, they will develop a template other foundations will be able to leverage to amplify their own ministries, serving the larger church in expanded ways.
As the Kansas Foundation sets the pace for creative partnerships, its current leaders are giving a nod to their pioneering forebearers by propelling their tradition of innovation.
To learn more about the Foundation's loan ministry or supporting the loan ministry through a Certificate of Participation, please visit www.kaumf.org/loans.