Articles of incorporation of First Christian Church Foundation, Inc. of Lincoln, Nebraska were signed July 31, 1964. The Foundation board is made up of nine members, each elected for a term of three years. Two are elected annually by the Foundation board and one by the congregation of First Christian Church. Officers consist of a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer, each elected by the board for a term of one year. Non-voting, ex-officio members of the board include the church treasurer, the chairman of the official board and the pastor.
The purpose of the First Christian Church Foundation is to obtain and invest funds which can be put to work for support of the work of the church. Funds given to the Foundation, unless otherwise directed, become part of the permanent endowment fund. Only the income from the investments can be used to support the programs of First Christian Church. Foundation funds come from memorials, endowments, bequests and gift annuities.
The first bequest to the First Christian Church Foundation was $5,000 from the estate of Mary L. Jeffrey. In the early years assets grew slowly but grew substantially in the 1980’s with a variety of gifts and the first annuity, given by Lottie Cummins. Upon her death Jan 25, 1984, the Foundation received a bequest from her estate of just over $300,000. On the 20th anniversary of the Foundation’s incorporation, assets totaled $530,906.65.
On July 1, 1966, Raymond Calkins became the attorney for the Foundation and he continued in that role until January of 1987. Jim Brown was appointed legal counsel at that January 1987 meeting and continued until his resignation. M. Douglas Deitchler became legal counsel for the Foundation in September of 1987 and continued in that role until his retirement. On his recommendation Christina I. Ball of the same firm was retained as legal counsel in February of 2011.
In May of 1984 the Foundation selected Ernest Weyeneth of Shearson Lehman/American Express, Inc. to manage funds from the Cummins bequest only. In 1989 the Board approved Mike Miller, investment broker with A. G. Edwards and Sons to manage the Foundation’s undesignated funds. The Board voted to transfer funds managed by A. G. Edwards to Shearson Lehman Bros. at its July 24 1991 meeting. In April 1993 Shearson Lehman Bros. combined with Smith Barney to become Smith Barney Shearson, Inc.
At its March 25, 2001 meeting the Foundation authorized opening a brokerage account with Fidelity Investments. Mutual funds were transferred to Fidelity in the fall of 2002. As of May 10, 2006, transfer of Foundation accounts with Smith Barney to Fidelity Investments was complete. Following a decision by the Board on Nov. 9, 2011 to find a different company to manage Foundation funds, several companies were considered. On Dec.19, 2011, motion was approved to move our account to The Andresason Group where it is to be managed by Elisabeth Andreason. Elisabeth has won many awards in managing money and is the principal of the Andreason Group at Morgan Stanley where she is a Senior Vice President.
As of June 30, 2013 the Foundation had given $1,434,780 to the operating budget and major contingency fund of First Christian Church. By March 31, 2018, this figure had grown to $1,550,136. In addition, starting in 1985 through 1991 the Foundation helped underwrite certain projects for the benefit of FCC. The major expenditures were: in 1985, $14,357 to repair air conditioning equipment, in 1986, $6,200 for roof repairs and $2,764 to install a lawn sprinkler system and sodding of the lawn; in 1987 $2,000 for payment on the building loan and $3,500 toward third floor remodeling; in 1988 and 1989, $24,549 to match gifts toward paying off the building loan; in 1990, $6,550 to repair stained glass windows in the north hallway and $7,659 toward the purchase of computer equipment and two TV/VCR’s; in 1991 $13,500 toward purchase of the Bedient Pipe Organ for the chapel and $4,500 for parlor renovation.
A special meeting of the Foundation was held on March 14, 1992, to which all members of the congregation were invited. Dr. Phil Heckman, President of the Lincoln Foundation was a special guest and offered his views on foundations and indicated it was his belief that foundations should remove themselves from distribution decisions and concentrate on maximizing the return on investments. Subsequently the Foundation voted unanimously that it would no longer consider matching gifts or donations to special causes. This applies to the undesignated funds of the Foundation.
Several designated funds of the Foundation contain specific directives. They include the Pekar Fund—income to be used for preventive maintenance; Arnold Fund—overseas Disciple medical missions; Hac Fund for music, flowers, Christian education for children and for anything of beauty as determined by the FCCF board; McMaster Fund—building maintenance and repair; Wood Fund—real emergency needs, excluding normal maintenance and repair, beautification and budget shortfalls; and the Hofmann Fund. The Hofmann Fund was established in 2012 and was designated to be used for two purposes, (1) to assist FCC with the purchase of major equipment for FCC and (2) grant scholarships to persons connected with FCC to assist them in attending a Disciples of Christ school.
Relative to the Pekar and McMaster fund, a definition of preventive maintenance was approved Nov. 11, 2009, as follows: Preventive maintenance—the inspection and planned maintenance of buildings, grounds, utilities, and equipment for conditions that will lead to harmful breakdown or damage, with appropriate actions to ensure continuous operation or maintenance.
The Foundation voted Dec. 6, 2009, subject to approval of the FCC Official Board, to amend the Foundation Bylaws to define income as: The term “income” referred to in Section 10 of the Bylaws shall mean a fixed percentage of the market value of the Foundation assets as determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with the Nebraska Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act.
In 2013 the Foundation contributed $480 from the Pekar fund to purchase a new lawn mower along with $433 to repair the sidewalk in front of the church. In 2014 $200 was given for the purchase of three engraved stones for the FCC garden on the south side of the church in honor
of Inez Shepard, Lottie Cummins and the 50th anniversary of the Foundation. $688.09 from the Hac Fund was allowed toward the encumbered funds for new choir robes. The Foundation has supported tuition payments for members to attend Dave Ramsey financial classes and Stephen Ministry instruction. The Foundation has sponsored study sessions for wills and estate management, and a presentation of the Five Wishes Program was held on May 17, 2015.
The Foundation contributed $850 toward the printing and distribution of the Five Wishes brochures.
Eugene Brockemeyer became a member of the Foundation in 1973 and president in l978. He continued as president until Dec. 31, 2014 and retired from the Foundation Dec. 31, 2016 after 43 years of service. Donald Everett, Jr. joined the Foundation in 2003 and became president in January 2015.
Sources of information for this document include the 20th anniversary publication, “Twenty Years as Stewards of the Future” by Mrs. Inez Shepard, annual reports and Messenger articles by Eugene Brockemeyer and minutes of meetings over the years.—Marjorie Snodgrass