Director’s Column


Eric Gray is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and attended law school at Oklahoma City University. He is admitted to practice law in all Oklahoma State and Federal courts, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court; he engaged in the practice of law from 1981 to 2014. Eric has earned the CAP® (Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®) designation. He is a member of Western Oaks Christian Church in Oklahoma City and has served the church there in many roles. Eric joined the Board of the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation in 2004 and served as a member of the Board for approximately ten (10) years. He began his duties as Executive Director in February of 2014.

It is a humbling experience to be allowed to be a part of the work being done at the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation. One of the things the Foundation has come to emphasize is planned giving. We have an entire section of our website devoted to the subject.

Churches are coming to the realization that both the church and members need information about planned giving to prepare for the future. When we talk about planned giving, however, we need to remember that it is not only planned giving for the donor. For the church we need to talk about planned receiving. We need to identify church needs and uses for planned gifts as well as have appropriate gift acceptance policies and procedures in place. A planned gift comes from a motivated donor. As a church we need to tell donors why they should be motivated to give to the church and provide information which assures their gift will be used as intended.

If your alma mater approaches you about making a planned gift they have a whole list of things you can support. You can endow scholarships, give money for a new building on campus, create a new program, etc. You are asked to become part of the vision for the future. In order to have a successful planned giving program the church needs, among other things, a list. If your church received a large gift today what would it be used for and has the church communicated that to the members? Where is your church’s list?

At the Foundation we have a list. It is the list of endowments generating funds for the grant program. Our vision is to enable dedicated individuals and churches to achieve goals by receiving grant funding from us. The grant program directs the endowment distributions to the missions and ministries where it is needed most.

There are, however, a few holes in our list. We have grant endowments generating funds for senior ministries, youth, children and young adults, missions, pastoral support, education, and church innovation. We do not have a specific fund for new church starts. We do not have a specific fund for church technology. We do not have a specific fund to support church capital costs.

As we grow, we want to increase the existing endowment funds as well as encourage the establishment of new funds in the areas listed above or other needed areas. We continually encourage those who have a passion in a particular area to leave a legacy by establishing a new endowment fund or giving to an existing fund. Please contact us if you or your church would like to discuss the many ways to leave a legacy and share your passion.

We praise God for all who support the Foundation and the Church. We also hope your church has a list.

Eric S. Gray, Executive Director

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