At the meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention on November 14, 1945, the following resolution was adopted: “That a committee be appointed to study the work being done by Baptist Foundations in the states that have such Foundation, and report back to the Convention one year hence as to the advisability of creating a Baptist Foundation of South Carolina.” As the result of the report made by the committee, the Convention vote on November 16, 1948 “that the General Board and the Executive Committee be delegated with authority and power to act in setting up the organization and putting it to work.”
Thus was born the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina.
In early 1949, by authority of the General Board, the Executive Committee named the original Board of Trustees. The first meeting of the Board was held on April 14, 1949 and on November 23, 1949, J. E. Rawlinson was elected to serve as the first Executive Secretary. Operations began in 1950 and the first endowment was established with a gift of $16! Like many new beginnings, growth of the Foundation was slow. The first five years of the ministry of the Foundation produced total assets of less than $15,000.
Mr. Rawlinson served the Foundation until September 30, 1954. On January 11, 1955, Mr. R. Frank Kolb begin his service as Executive Secretary. By this time, the ministry of the Foundation had become more widely known and the Foundation began to show steady growth. The first bequest managed by the Foundation through a bequest in a will was received on June 29, 1957 in the amount of $73,793.79. The first living trust was established through the Foundation on October 28, 1958 in the amount of $20,000. At Mr. Kolb’s retirement on January 31, 1969, total assets had grown to more than $3,000,000.
Because of the growth of the Foundation, it became necessary to add an additional staff member. Therefore, on December 26, 1966, Jim M. Cherry began his service as Associate Secretary. Upon the retirement of Mr. Kolb, Mr. Cherry was elected as Executive Secretary as of February 7, 1969. The Foundation continued to experience years of steady growth. The largest living trust ever established by a donor was on November 28, 1969, in the amount of $2,599,650. Upon the retirement of Mr. Cherry on December 31, 1979, total assets of the Foundation amounted to $11,553,316.
During the administration of Mr. Cherry, the titles of the executive offers were changed from Executive Secretary and Associate Secretary to President and Vice President. The titles of the officers of the Board of Trustees were changed from President and Vice President to Chairman and Vice Chairman.
Upon the election of Mr. Cherry, J. Fred Lister began his service as Associate Secretary (later called Vice President) on February 3, 1969. Upon the retirement of Mr. Cherry, the Board of Trustees elected Mr. Lister as President as of January 1, 1980. During those years, the Foundation continued to grow and, upon Mr. Lister’s retirement on December 31, 1995, assets under management totaled $46,088,709.
Mr. R. Allison Dalton was elected to succeed Mr. Lister as President on April 25, 1996. He retired on December 31, 1999. Mr. Weldon F. Fallaw, who had been serving as Vice President since August 3, 1981, was named interim President effective January 1, 2000 and ultimately became the Foundation’s sixth President in April 2000.
Upon the announcement of Mr. Fallaw’s retirement as of December 31, 2009, a Search Committee was appointed and subsequently elected Mr. Barry B. Edwards to serve as the Foundation’s seventh President effective February 22, 2010.
Over the years, the Foundation’s products, services, and assets under management have grown. The Foundation offers educational seminars, a variety of diversified investment funds for church/ministry investments, charitable giving instruments for individuals that pay income for life, and donor advised funds. In addition, the Foundation awards grants for ministries and small scholarships for students pursuing primarily ministerial degrees. The Foundation has added professional staff positions to provide our clients with knowledge and experience in planned giving and estate planning matters. The Foundation has also added Field Development Coordinators who personally visit and answer questions in the areas where they serve. Operationally, the Foundation has developed an online client and account database to more efficiently answer client questions, streamlined operational procedures, began networking with estate planning and planned giving professionals, and offering online estate planning tools.
In 2011, the Foundation began assisting churches with their campaign stewardship programs, a service that was formerly handled by the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Reveal God’s Plan is a spiritually based program to assist churches with raising funds for building and other projects. Another highlight from 2011 was implementation of the Ambassador program, a volunteer program in which men and women attend a training session about the Foundation and agree to be the Foundation’s “eyes and ears” across the state. To date, over 200 Ambassadors have been recruited.
During 2016, the Foundation spent much time and research developing our legacy ministry services. Under the mandate of our Board of Trustees, the Foundation in early 2017 adopted an aggressive strategic plan to focus on our ministry “ends” to see “South Carolina Baptist church members become legacy stewards for the glory of God.” Our vision is that South Carolina Baptist churches and ministries will incorporate legacy stewardship in their overall stewardship culture and that church members will be inspired to complete their Christian estate plans that will leave a portion of the blessings God has provided to provide for future ministry.
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD! Psalm 102:18
As of March 31, 2017, the fair market value of the assets held by the Foundation for the benefit of primarily South Carolina Baptist churches, associations, institutions, and ministries was over $132,000,000. More importantly, the Foundation has distributed, primarily through endowment income, over $70 million to primarily Baptist ministries since it’s inception.