The former Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation has a new name, new logo, and renewed effort to educate those in the state about what it does.
“It’s taking an opportunity to clarify our purpose and how we serve,” said the Rev. Dr. Dustin Petz, president and CEO of what’s now the Kansas Methodist Foundation. “There’s not always been a good understanding of what we do or how we do it.”
Founded in 1964, the word “Area” was included to indicate it served both the east and west conferences in existence at the time. “United” was added in 1969 following the merging of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Church to become the United Methodist Church.
But that word has been removed from the new name, Petz said, because of the looming possibility of a split in the denomination and formation of new offshoots.
“We want to be in a position to be able to serve all of those different groups,” he said. “We want to help churches invest well and grow their financial capacity, as well as help all Methodists leave a legacy.”
The new logo, representing seeds, shows a “burst of energy,” communications associate Joanna Trapp said. "Over the past year we looked at where we wanted to be, our goal is to empower and activate churches, organizations and families in their ministries, with what God wants them to do.”
Trapp said initial emails have been sent to donors and friends of the foundation, and that churches should receive packets about the changes in the next few weeks.
Petz, who has led the foundation since 2018, said that educating the public on what it is, what it does – or even that it exists – has been his biggest challenge.
“I continue to be surprised by the people across the state who go, ‘Oh, I didn’t know there was a United Methodist Foundation,’” Petz said, adding that those who are aware of, and support, university or community foundations are unaware there is an equivalent for churches.
The Kansas foundation has not had apportionment support from the conference since 1999, Petz said. A resolution passed during the 2019 annual conference established the foundation as a separate entity and not a supporting organization of the conference, he added.
The newly named Kansas Methodist Foundation is working with its counterparts at the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation to present a webinar of “Financial Lessons for the Post-Pandemic Church,” led by Rev. Dr. Lovett Weems and Rev. Dr. Ann Michel from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary, on Wednesday, Jan. 19.
Tyler Curtis was added to the foundation staff in August in the newly created position of chief development officer. Petz said other positions may be added in the future to help promote leadership development and helping individuals give charitably. Finance director Gloria Markus rounds out the four-person staff in the Hutchinson-based office.
Petz said that about 60% of the Kansas Methodist Foundation’s work is with churches and organizations and 40% is with families and individuals.
He said the seed-based logo illustrates the foundation’s mission.
“There’s tremendous opportunity and potential within our people as individuals as well as organizations on how we can plant seeds, be open to God growing and producing fruit from what is present within us,” he said.
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