Leaders of Kentucky WMU were quite surprised to learn that Kentucky WMU had been named as a beneficiary in the will of Mabel Brigance Grinstead, a retired teacher from Western High School and member of Bethany Baptist Church. Ms. Grinstead, a teacher for over 40 years, died in December 2010 at the age of 98.
Ms. Grinstead’s will specified that ten percent of the value of her estate after expenses were paid was to be given to the Lord’s work. One-third of the tithe of her estate was given to her church and two-thirds was given to Kentucky WMU in memory of Jennie Graham Bright who served as Corresponding Secretary (now executive director) from 1925-33. Kentucky WMU received $137,625.92.
The connection between Ms. Grinstead and Miss Bright is not specifically known. Miss Bright was serving as the Young Peoples Leader of Kentucky WMU when she was selected as corresponding secretary in 1925 upon the resignation of Janie Cree Bose (Anderson) who went to be the principal of the WMU Training School.
Kentucky WMU leaders became aware of the gift in mid-2012 when it became necessary to provide documentation confirming that Kentucky WMU was the intended recipient of the bequest. An error in the exact name of Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union in the will made it necessary to provide information to the court showing the history of Kentucky WMU and the connection with Miss Bright.
The Finance Committee of Kentucky WMU considered several options for use of this generous gift. A desire to share this blessing and honor Mrs. Grinstead’s legacy led Kentucky WMU to divide the gift among three uses.
$50,000 will be given to Crossings Ministries to help with rebuilding cabins at Cedar Crest. Because Ms. Grinstead had an obvious concern for children and Kentucky WMU has been holding camps at Cedar Crest for many years, an investment in this facility which ministers to children was selected. Construction of the first of four cabins (which sleep 44 each) is under way and the first new cabin will be ready for summer use. Eventually all of the current cabins at Cedar Crest will be replaced and other gifts to assist in the rebuilding are welcomed. (David Melber, president of Crossings Ministries, will be with us at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting to receive the check on Friday afternoon!)
$50,000 has been given to the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund, a permanent endowment which provides annual distributions for the work of Kentucky WMU. The Development Committee of Kentucky WMU approves the use of distributions each year. Ministries funded include associational WMU leadership training, resources of new WMU organizations, and other means of promoting missions education and involvement. (Barry Allen, president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation which holds the Heritage Fund, will also be with us at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting.)
The balance of the gift, $37,625.92 will be used to help seven smaller state WMUs reach the $10,000 level in their state Touch Tomorrow Today (TTT) endowment with the National WMU Foundation. Kentucky WMU has notified these states that they will match gifts to the these state TTT endowments up to the amount needed to reach the $10,000 threshold required to begin receiving TTT distributions. A total of $18,900, if matched, will be given to the TTT endowments of California WMU, Canada WMU, District of Columbia WMU, Indiana WMU, New York WMU, Utah/Idaho WMU, and Wyoming WMU. The unused portion will be placed in the Kentucky Touch Tomorrow Today Endowment.
Touch Tomorrow Today was selected not only as a way to share the blessing of the estate gift with seven other state WMUs that need the help in reaching the distribution threshold, but also in supporting the work of National WMU. State TTT distributions are 5% of the total value of the endowment calculated annually. When the state TTT distributions occur, half goes to the state WMU, and the other half goes to National WMU. The state distributions are unrestricted and may be used in any way needed by the state WMU. The money that goes to National WMU is used primarily for the Vision Fund (which supports all WMU ministries) and a small portion goes to the WMU Foundation for their work.
We are excited to share the news of Ms. Grinstead’s bequest to Kentucky WMU. We believe that her desire to support missions education through WMU will be honored through the use of these funds. Sharing the blessing of this gift with other state WMUs is our way of ‘tithing’ this gift. In addition, children attending camps and retreats held at Cedar Crest will be blessed for years to come through the renovation of the facilities there. We are grateful to have a part in this work through this bequest. We hope that others will follow the example of Ms. Grinstead, choosing to tithe their estates to the Lord’s work, and that her gift will inspire others to name Kentucky WMU in their wills.