In January 2003, five men met to develop the charter for a non-profit investment fund whose earnings would provide a stream of ongoing support for innovative Christian missions projects. Ten years later, the Kingdom Missions Fund has received $319,640 in donations from businesses and individuals. The fund has distributed 83 grants totaling $115,055 and as of 12/31/12 has a balance that is earning interest and dividends of $289,211.
“When I got home from the missions field and started my business career in the 1970’s I always wanted to find a way to create something that could provide new sources of funds for missions.” said Paul Barber, charter board member.
The vision came to life in early 2001 when Barber began putting back $50 a month in hopes of developing a fund to provide perpetual support for Christian missions.
Years before, Barber had tried to start something similar with the help of his friend and accountant, John Craft. However, the legal hurdles of starting a non-profit investment fund were too high. So, Barber’s dream had been put on the shelf.
18 months later, Darrell Amy was having lunch with Barber to review a business plan. A footnote of the business plan was that 5% of the company’s profits would go to support missions. Barber excitedly shared his vision. Not knowing the practical details of how this could become a reality, the two agreed to explore the possibilities.
That same week, Amy had been invited by Chad Carlson to an investment overview luncheon. Sitting next to Amy was David Moore, the Director of the Arkansas Baptist Foundation, a non-profit investment firm that managed over $150 million in assets for Christian ministries. Amy told Moore about the idea for the fund and his response was simple: “We can make that happen.”
Within 90 days, the charter document was drafted and the Kingdom Missions Fund was born. The charter Board of Directors included Amy, Barber, Carlson, Craft and Moore.
“As I look back, it is amazing to see how God arranged the relationships necessary to make this happen,” commented Amy.
In 2003, the fund raised approximately $8,000 and distributed 3 grants totaling $1,750.
“I remember being at the first awards dinner eating BBQ and giving away a few small checks,” said Carlson. “It seemed somewhat insignificant at the time, but the impact has been amazing.”
Today, the KMF continues to grow. The vision for the future is big.
One Million Dollars
“In the next 10 years, we want to see the KMF surpass $1 million in asset value,” says Barber. This will allow the fund to generate $50,000-$100,000 in interest and dividends that can be distributed.
“To do this, we need to improve our fund raising strategy.” The board is meeting in early April to agree on a strategy to increase fund raising effectiveness.
“The hardest thing each year is to see the amazing grant requests that we have to say ‘no’ to,” remarked Craft. “That motivates us to find new ways to build the fund.”
Kingdom Fund Association
Another key initiative of the 10-year vision is to develop an association of many local missions funds across the country. The “Kingdom Missions Fund-in-a-box” concept that makes it easy for other groups to start funds to invest in missions.
“We did a lot of heavy lifting up front to develop the charter, by-laws, investment management, grant processes and fund raising strategies,” says Amy. “We think we could give another group with a similar vision a big head start while also giving them some external oversight.”
The future for the KMF is bright.
“I continue to be thankful for all of the ways God continues to bless this vision,” smiles Barber. “I also am so thankful for everyone who has been a part of making this dream a reality.”