Heartspring Methodist Foundation Funds Dreams that Spring from the Heart

Date Posted: 4/4/2011

The generous and glorious return on investment – of time and resources – is among the reasons HeartSpring Methodist Foundation’s President and Chief Executive Officer loves showing up for work.


“I love going to my job, because 90 percent of my time is spent with churches or other people who want to help other people and do things to the glory of God,” said Rev. C.J. Taylor, who has served the people of the Texas Annual Conference through its foundation for 14 years.


With more than $77 million under management, HeartSpring helps people help others through gifts to local churches, U.M. A.R.M.Y., Partners in Mission, education and more.


In 2010, HeartSpring’s grants and charitable distributions totaled approximately $776,000. Scholarships comprise roughly 27 percent of the grants, with more than $70,000 gifted to seminary students alone. Building, general, church programs, and unrestricted distributions each represent approximately 15-17 percent of the foundation’s disbursements.

The HeartSpring team values every gift which comprises its multi-million dollar portfolio – including the most modest of contributions.


Among the individual donors, who have valued the transformative power of education so much that they endowed scholarships, are retired school teacher Mrs. Alyce Christian and Rev. Thomas Davis.


Although Davis is now deceased, his generosity lives on.


“He was very appreciative of Texas Wesleyan University,” Taylor said. “He was a poor man and they gave him a chance to go to college and train for ministry. So, in appreciation for that, his estate created a fund that provides scholarships to Texas Wesleyan, to help other students be able to attend that wonderful university.”


Another example of how HeartSpring multiplies the extravagant generosity of individual Texas Conference members can be found in Mrs. Alyce Christian, who has funded multiple scholarships over the years.


“Mrs. Christian said: ‘I know the value of getting an education,’” Taylor recalled. “She doesn’t have a lot of money – she’s a retired school teacher. She’s not a wealthy person, but she’s a generous person. It’s not the same amount of money as a wealthy person, but the heart is the same.”


Cycle of Generosity

It seems that generosity begets generosity.


Taylor noted that there is a “wonderful joy and empowerment” that comes to an individual person, when they “intentionally decide to be a generous giver or a generous Christian.”  The foundation’s role is to provide resources and knowledge to encourage people to prayerfully consider being a generous giver.


HeartSpring’s goal: to create more resources for you to do more good, from building and expanding churches and funding ministries to leaving charitable legacies and advancing causes that make a lasting difference.


“When you establish a permanent endowment for whatever goals – scholarships, evangelism, supporting your university or young clergy recruitment and training – it allows a person to care forever,” Taylor said. “You’re only using earnings; you’re not using all the funds up over a period of time. The gifts honor the person’s memory, but until infinity – the end of time – that fund will be around to help people make disciples of Christ.”


One example of planned, legacy giving Taylor noted is a physician in the Texas Medical Center who is leaving a sizable portion of their estate to create a fund to help volunteers – physicians and non-physicians – to go to poor countries to provide medical care to people who would otherwise go untreated.


In addition to partnering with churches, HeartSpring works with individuals, such as this doctor, to tailor and grow investments that help support God’s work. The foundation also serves annual conference institutions such as Lon Morris College and Lakeview Conference Center.


“A lot of people don’t realize there is a ministry that is there to help them with Extravagant Generosity in numerous ways,” Taylor said. “We’re basically created for the purpose of providing all the members, churches and institutions of the Annual Conference financial and stewardship resources.”


HeartSpring has more than 1,100 clients and accounts – ranging from the Sunday school class with $23 to accounts in excess of $1 million.


Additionally, the ministry is self funding. Although HeartSpring does not receive apportionments, it disburses nearly $1 million per year to ministries within the TAC. Methodist Children’s Home and universities outside the bounds of the conference benefit; but the clear majority of HeartSpring managed funds is spent within the TAC. (As a “third party fiduciary,” HeartSpring manages its clients’ money and distributes checks.)


A spirit of generosity is the foundation upon which the foundation operates. While HeartSpring is committed to helping others create a legacy of giving, what does the foundation hope its legacy will be?


“We changed our name in 2009…the name comes from the fact that we are helping to fund the dreams that spring from the heart,” Taylor said. “I want HeartSpring to be known forever as a helping friend. We’re a connectional church – we are not alone, we have helpers. If you are Methodist, not only do you have your pastor, you have people in this conference that will help you with information and resources. HeartSpring will help you with your extravagant generosity ideas.