INDIANAPOLIS – The three United Methodist foundations of Indiana moved closer to union as their merger task force continued to work out the details of their merger into one foundation in 2011.

Gene Robbins, a Frankfort attorney and president of the Indiana Area Foundation board of directors, led a day-long task force discussion of the foundations Sept. 17 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

More than 50 board members and other interested people of the existing North Indiana United Methodist Foundation and Load Fund, South Indiana United Methodist Foundation and Indiana Area United Methodist Foundation discussed the mission and services they want to offer in the new Indiana Conference Foundation as well as what they needed to do to assure a smooth transition.

The new foundation plans to continue to support investment service funds, planned giving assistance, congregational seminars, gift annuities and the loan fund.

Task force members began planning for new services which could include grant writing assistance, clergy stewardship and financial planning, a Christian investment fund open to non-denominational churches, capital and stewardship campaign assistance for congregations, plus church and business connections for employment assistance.

Discussing legal and accounting issues, the foundations agreed auditing of each foundation will continue through 2010. Selecting an auditor, reviewing legal contracts and documents, choosing software and reviewing the conditions of the South Indiana Minster Reserve Pension Fund are tasks to be completed this coming year before merger.


Meanwhile with all three foundations up and running during this merger process, discussion continues around current and potential donors including a list of partners who can assist the existing foundations in developing a new foundation.

The Rev. Marie Lang, executive director of the United Methodist Foundation of South Indiana, said, “As a new foundation, we want to take the lead in fundraising for fundraising in Indiana United Methodism.”

Tom Heck of Muncie, leader of the investments group during this meeting, compiled a list of investment goals for the new foundation. Members hope to strive for a new foundation that operates efficiently, satisfies the mission of the new foundation and provides investments and endowment services that attract donors as well as provide for the support of ministry.

The foundations hope to complete a plan of action by the end of June so the new foundation can begin operation on January 1, 2011.

Manet Shettle of Alexandria, executive director of the North Indiana United Methodist Foundation and Loan Fund, reported the foundations also will focus on having a central or core office for the new foundation which will be adjacent to I-65 or on the I-465 corridor in the Indianapolis area, but also want to remain flexible with positions that might be located in other places across the state.


The purpose of the new foundation, according to the task force report to the Indiana Conference session in June, is to promote “faithful stewardship of the abundant resources God has provided, but connecting (donor) resources with Christian ministries, and working to ensure that sources of funding area available to the Church until Christ comes again.”

The mission of the new foundation will:

“Strengthen the administrative and financial effectiveness of local units of ministry…,

Enhance clergy leadership and leadership development skills, financial literacy and administrative competence;

Create sources of funding for ministries and to be an agent of responsible change and accountability as the church responds to the ever-changing needs of its people.

Comments and questions about the new Indiana United Methodist Foundation can be directed to Gene Robbins at

Information about the existing United Methodist foundations in Indiana can be found at and

Members hope to strive for a new foundation that operates efficiently, satisfies the mission of the new foundation …