ANNUAL REPORT - 2020
The Trinity Church Investment Committee was established nine years ago to supervise, monitor, and evaluate the investment assets of Trinity Church and to recommend an annual distribution from these assets to the church budget.
Our membership is comprised of our Senior Warden Susan Haldane, Treasurer Nancy Brooks, Finance Director Dillon Manly, Rev. Dr. Scott White, Fred Groce, Jeff Howden, Vince Childress, Jim Gunn, Dianne Weaver, and Financial Assistant Jan Hildebrand. In 2020, we welcomed Dr. Al Shivers to our team. Sadly, Melene Patchel, who was a very active member of our committee, passed away recently. I am grateful as Chair to have such talented, engaged, and dedicated committee members.
We meet four times per year to review investment performance, meet with our investment managers, and formulate recommendations for the Vestry.
I am pleased to report that as of the date of this report, Trinity’s endowment funds have recouped all their losses from the market selloff in early 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
One outcome of the market decline this year was that our endowment distributions from two of Trinity’s three funds at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina were reduced from the customary 4.5% amount to 2%, as the funds both fell below their historic gift value at the Foundation. While this reduction would normally have represented a significant hardship for the parish, Trinity obtained a PPP loan, so this impact was not felt. Our committee did meet with the Foundation to fully understand this policy and the process for requesting an exception to this reduction, but as a body, we felt it was most prudent as good stewards to take the reduced distribution in 2020. While at this time the funds are above their historic value, our committee does not plan on requesting an exception in 2020. This event is a good reminder to the entire parish that market declines can result in reduced endowment distributions in future years, and this reinforces our commitment to our rigorous review and oversight of the parish endowment funds.
As of August 31, 2020, Trinity’s assets included two bank money market deposit accounts at First Citizens Bank and Self Help Credit Union with combined balances of $387,755, an operating checking account and an investment portfolio managed by Parsec Financial that is comprised of the restricted, unrestricted, and Legacy assets of Trinity Church with a balance of $877,231. Additionally, Trinity is blessed to be the income beneficiary of three endowed accounts at the Community Foundation with combined balances of $1.5 million. Trinity also receives income from a portfolio that is managed by Wells Fargo as Trustee. This account was established in the 1960s by a gift from a generous parishioner.
I greatly appreciate the dedication, expertise, and engagement of all of our committee members, and it is an honor to serve as chairman of such an exceptional group.
The theme of the 2021 Stewardship Campaign is “An Anchor for the Soul.” We are all swimming in uncharted waters, especially when it comes to our financial life here at Trinity. The goal of the stewardship team this year was to engage with everyone in our parish to give back to the church that holds us together, as in providing an anchor. Our budget for 2021 will be challenging due to losses of income streams from the parking lot, the building use and our capped distribution from our endowments. Our greatest source of income comes from pledged giving, as you are all aware. To that end, the Stewardship Team has spent time deciding what is the best way to reach everyone who calls Trinity his or her home. Without prior knowledge of what 2020 would hold for us, in 2019, we rolled out the concept of pledging electronically. It was well received and efficient. Luckily this plan is still in place and easy to replicate for 2021. As of this writing, we are 5 days into our campaign and have about 30% of our pledges in. In case electronic replies are not a member’s strength, letters will go out in a few weeks with a return envelope enclosed.
The Vestry has challenged all members to increase their pledge by 2%, 3%, or 5% as we face the uncertainty of other revenue next year. That being said, please remember that there is no gift too small. No pledge needs to be beyond one’s means or sacrificial, only a true gift from one’s heart.
Our committee that has met dutifully throughout the year consists of chair Susan Haldane, Fred Groce, Binford Jennings, David Henson, Fred Fairhead, Ken Wilson, Jo Rice, Jan Hildebrand, and Scott White.
The finance team has been busy reviewing the 2021 budget which has been set in motion earlier than usual due to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to Trinity’s finances.
The group meets three times prior to the budget process and more often as needed during the fall as the process escalates. During the year, they review the financials and act as a sounding board for all things financial. As the budget is prepared, the team reviews it and sends it on to the Vestry for approval. This work could not be done without the support of the team which consists of treasurer Nancy Brooks, Katherine Ray, Don Weidemann, Dillon Manly, Scott White, Susan Haldane, Fred Fairhead, and Jan Hildebrand.