Director’s Column

Eric-Gray-2014-Head-Shot-for-website

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. He is a member of Western Oaks Christian Church in Oklahoma City and has served the church there in many roles. He 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.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”

1 Corinthians 13:12

Wouldn’t we all like to have complete clarity, to clearly see the Truth as God sees it, to know who we are and why, to know where we are going, and to hear God’s call every day?  We may want it but we cannot have it. As Paul said, we see only reflections.

Rather than have remorse over our failure to have clarity in our lives, however, we should rejoice in the fact that we can see the reflections. God’s Grace has granted us the ability to see God’s world. We see God working in the world presently through our own imperfect lens. Just as we see what is behind us when we look in the mirror, we see God’s work mostly in hindsight. We see how God has worked through people and events. We catch glimpses of God’s plans presently only by seeing what God has already done.

What has God done in the life of the Foundation in 2017? What is the plan for the future? The Foundation began 2017 with a five-part framework for the future. God’s work is apparent in all of those parts this year. Those five parts are:

  1. Growth of assets and distributions.

The Foundation started the year with a balance sheet that showed assets of $18,000,000. In December of 2017, the assets of the foundation went over $20,000,000. Within the invested assets are an office building valued at cost and oil and gas interests valued at $1,000 that generated almost $50,000 in income. Distributions in 2017 were up over the 2016 distributions and we anticipate even greater distributions in February of 2018.

  1. Expansion of services and programs

The Foundation implemented several new programs and services in 2017. We have given our Custodial Fund participants greater investment choices and fee options. The Foundation Board also approved and implemented a donor advised fund program with investment options and a fee scale identical to the Custodial Fund Program.  Finally, for the first time ever, the Foundation made grants. Worthy applicants received over $50,000 pursuant to our grant program.

  1. Increased returns on our managed assets

Commencing in early January our managed assets were transitioned from JP Morgan to Bank of Oklahoma. Returns for 2017 will likely exceed the returns for each of the past ten years by a wide margin.

  1. Reduction of fees and expenses

Fees on all of our invested funds were significantly reduced during 2017. Fees on Custodial Funds were incentivized. In February of 2018, the Foundation Board will consider suspension of all Foundation fees on endowed funds.

  1. Humbly celebrating in gratitude the generosity of spirit, dedication and resources of our donors, Board of Directors and staff.

Every day the Foundation is grateful for the work of all staff members. We are able to do greater things as we expand in all areas. In 2017, we added Hannah Bingham to our staff as an administrative assistant. Hannah has been a blessing to all of us. Every day the Foundation is grateful for our Board of Directors. The Board takes its job seriously and provides oversight and guidance. We will be adding four new members to the Board and losing one member as his term expires. Every day we are grateful for the donors and depositors who we serve. There is strength in numbers and we have been gaining strength.

What does God have planned for the future? I don’t know. But looking in the mirror I see that whatever God has planned it is good.

Grace and peace,

Eric

Eric S. Gray, Executive Director.

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