2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund. I am grateful for the foresight of WMU leaders to begin this endowment which was established for the purpose of developing, promoting, strengthening and sustaining the work of Kentucky WMU. There is not an area of our work that the Heritage Fund does not touch.
The Heritage Fund matters to our work in missions education and involvement. It is one of several sources of funding that are vital to our on-going work. These include the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus Offering, and other endowment funds with distributions designated for Kentucky WMU. We are also blessed by the Second Century Fund of the National WMU Foundation which provides a distribution to each state WMU and by the Kentucky Touch Tomorrow Today endowment.
These various funding sources, plus event fees, make it possible for Kentucky WMU to offer first rate events and missions opportunities led by a wonderful staff and many volunteers. At a time when Cooperative Program (CP) funds coming to Kentucky WMU have declined, we have been able to maintain our staff and services in part because of the growth of endowment funds.
The decline in CP funds is a good thing in that in 2010 the Kentucky Baptist Convention made the significant decision to raise the portion of CP funds going beyond our state for Southern Baptist work, including international and North American missions. I was a member of the task force that made that recommendation and we gladly adjusted our budget to make more funds available for missions beyond Kentucky. The original plan was to reach the 50-50 split by 2018, but under the leadership of Dr. Paul Chitwood, Executive Director of the KBC, we reached this milestone effective with the 2013-14 budget year. A decline in CP giving since 2010, however, has made the budget adjustments even more challenging. In 2009-10 Kentucky WMU received $496,395 in CP funds. For the 2015-16 budget year, we expect to receive $415,000.
Our work is also funded in part by the Eliza Broadus Offering. Kentucky WMU is the sponsor of the Eliza Broadus Offering and has the responsibility and privilege of setting the offering allocations. We do this cooperatively with Dr. Chitwood based on requests from KBC staff for missions mobilization, evangelism, church planting, collegiate ministry, language missions and much more. A portion is also used for our work in missions education for all ages which includes resources, training, events, camps, and much more. Even with the adjustments in CP funding, we have raised the level of Eliza Broadus Offering funding going for missions through the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the amount for associational and special ministry grants. In 2009-10, EBO funding for KBC missions ministries and grants was $840,000. In 2015-16, it will be $990,000. Thank you for increased giving to the Eliza Broadus Offering making this report possible!
Kentucky WMU has been able to absorb the decline in the Cooperative Program and increase EBO distributions in part because of the Heritage Fund and other endowments and investments. Kentucky WMU is blessed to have these resources and we seek to be faithful stewards in using them for Kingdom work. We have also been able to help several smaller state WMU’s as well as assist with some international projects. While we are careful in the use of our resources, we do not hoard them when they are needed. This year we plan to purchase needed equipment for Kentucky Changers and build our own storage facility for this ministry. Kentucky Changers takes a significant amount of equipment and good stewardship requires that we take care of it between summer seasons.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Heritage Fund, you are invited to give $25 in honor of someone who has impacted your life for missions. We invite you to give 25 in honor of the past 25 to fund the next 25! There will be a special Give 25 emphasis at Annual Meeting. But you don’t have to wait. Online giving is available for giving anytime to support the ministries of Kentucky WMU.