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Sunday, August 16, 2009

TEC's Trust Fund Book

A.J. Haley has been doing his homework and here's something that grabbed my interest:

It turns out that, as a consequence of all the brouhaha over the embezzlement of millions by a former treasurer of the Church, ECUSA was required by the Attorney General of New York to do an audit of its funds held in trust. As part of the audit, it agreed "to prepare an annual trust fund book and promptly provide copies of it to members of the church who request it." Now, this was news to me; I had not seen any such "annual trust fund book". I went looking for it on ECUSA's official Website, and what do you know -- I found it. (Caution -- the link is to a 308-page .pdf download of the last such book published, for calendar year 2007).

This "Annual Trust Funds Book" provides a wealth of information about the wealth of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America -- which is the official name of the incorporated arm of ECUSA, organized under New York law in 1846 (but existing in earlier form ever since 1820). The DFMS was modeled on two similar predecessors established under the Church of England: the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. In accordance with those models, the main purpose of the DFMS was to facilitate the work of missionaries and the spread of Church missions both domestically and in foreign countries, and it was through its efforts that ECUSA became a national church that affiliated over the years with a number of foreign dioceses.

Over those same years, a great deal of money was given to further the missionary work of the DFMS. The 2007 Trust Funds Book reports the total value of all funds it currently holds in trust at $363,218,308 as of the end of that year. All of the individual bequests are pooled into a common investment fund, which is allocated 72% to equities, 20% to bonds (mostly of the United States), and 8% to other types of investment, chiefly hedge funds (see the tabular breakout on page 6).

Read it all here.

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