After seeing friends not getting a chance to spend retirement with their loved ones, Anita Crisp didn’t want to be on that list.
That’s why the executive director of the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation has announced her retirement, effective Nov. 19, after eight years in the position.
“He had a major heart attack several years ago and died eight times on the table,” Crisp, 67, said of her husband, Joe, a retired truck driver. “God was good and brought him back to me. He retired two years ago and he’s doing really well and I’m doing well.
“For both of our sakes, it was just a good time to do it,” she added.
Hired by the Nebraska UM Foundation in 2008, Crisp spent two years as director of communications and donor relations. She was then recommended by Jim Heller to replace him as executive director.
Crisp said she’s proud that the assets of the foundation have grown from $24.6 million when she began to a current $44 million.
“We just worked really, really hard – and I know Jim did too – getting out there and pounding the pavement and getting into churches,” she said. “I think I’ve seen the trust in the churches and the foundation grow – more in the last three to four years.”
Crisp said she was proud of the increased transparency from the foundation, but said there’s still an awareness gap.
“Our foundation is 53 years old, and I still have people saying to me, ‘We didn’t know we had a foundation,’” she said. “I think we’ve really pushed the education, letting people know we have a foundation. Not saying you have to bring your money here, but if you’re interested you have an option with us.”
Marilyn Moore, chairman of the foundation board of directors, said Crisp will be celebrated at a meeting later this month.
“It's been a time of significant growth, a time of establishing the foundation as its own entity, and a time of increasing support to churches, ministries, and seminary students,” she wrote in an email.
Crisp, mother of four and grandmother of six, and her husband will remain at their farm southeast of Bennet, Nebraska, and increase their traveling time.
She said she’ll especially miss gatherings such as the annual conference sessions, and the chance to see old friends yearly.
"That’s what I’ll miss the most, the relationships with the churches, the pastors and the laity,” she said. “The people that we serve.”