“Creating grants for unfunded missions, ministries, and Church properties.”

The Coker Permanent Endowment Fund has existed in its present form for less than a generation. Yet, since Coker’s inception in 1883, our church has experienced roughly seven generations of members.  Throughout most of that time, without fundraising, countless projects and ministries languished and went unfunded.  Given that thought,  consider this from Cheryl Kendall, Head of Coker’s Children’s Ministries:

“The Coker Permanent Endowment Fund’s grant (in 2017) allowed Children’s Ministries to upgrade our 1980’s TVs and VCRs.  This allows screen sharing of other media items among teachers and study groups that pertain to the curriculum.  It also allows us to host our Kids Club in one contained area where we can show movies to more than one age group.”

For Coker’s succeeding generations, our church has a growing source of grant money which can support many of those future unfunded missions and ministries like the Children’s Ministry audiovisuals.

The idea of a Permanent Endowment Fund or something like it is not a new one.  Caring and experienced people in Coker have labored for over three decades to establish an ongoing endowment.  Ultimately, when the original Endowment Trust of 1988 was combined with the Endowment Fund in 2007, the present day Coker Permanent Endowment Fund became a reality.  In 2018, the Fund was officially granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS.

In 2009, not long after the Fund’s creation, through the vision and efforts spearheaded by Sharon and Mike Ford, the Food Pantry was established to serve an expanding community need.  This evolved into the Coker Health and Wellness Center which has become widely known as one of Coker’s strong, thriving ministries.  As Mike recently said,

“Celebrating its tenth anniversary next August, the Health and Wellness Ministry grew from a temporary building in the upper parking lot.  The Permanent Endowment Fund has provided assistance all along the way, including moving the building to a more visible location and attaching it to a larger structure.  More recently, the Endowment Fund has assisted with an awning system to improve safety and service.  The Fund is a generous blessing to Coker and continues to be instrumental in this community ministry that supports hundreds of families each month.”

So what is the purpose of the Fund?  It’s actually quite simple…the Fund is not intended to support the operating budget, nor act as a church emergency savings account.   Instead, using only the Fund’s earnings, grants are provided that support special programs, ministries, missions, and unusual church expenses not included in the existing budget.  Consider where most of our giving (tithes, offerings, designated gifts) for God’s work is used;  necessity dictates that expenditures occur in short time-frames for funding the expenses and designated programs within the church.

That’s where Coker’s Permanent Endowment Fund comes in.  Your contributions are invested for the future, earning interest without depleting the initial gifts you provide.  The Endowment Committee is constrained by its charter to granting no more than 5% of the Fund’s value in any given year. In this way, the main body of the Fund is preserved to perpetually produce annual funds.  Each year, the Fund grants money from that 5% pool for Coker’s campus and outreach needs.  Annual funds authorized for use that are not distributed in grants are retained in the Fund.    As a result, all actual contributions remain invested and generating funds for unbudgeted needs year after year, generation after generation.

Our Coker Permanent Endowment Fund is strong and growing.  At its inception in 2007, the beginning balance of roughly $120,000 yielded $4,303 in grants.  Over the ensuing years, through the generosity of dozens of Coker members, the Fund reached $1,000,000 by early 2018 permitting grants this year totaling up to $35,661!   This is not short-term!   The Fund is here for the long-haul.  The Lord is good and has blessed us with a growing ability to do his work in and around our community.

Requests for a Fund grant must be formally submitted through the Endowment Committee.  The grant form can be found on the Coker website.

The Coker Permanent Endowment Fund has supported a wide variety of campus and outreach programs in recent years.   In addition to the programs already mentioned, some of the more recent grants include installing security panic buttons around Coker’s campus, providing modern Sanctuary live streaming audio and video capability, helping interns in the Methodist Project Transformation literacy program, and contributing support to Pastor David’s Mexico mission trips the past two years…and many more over the past ten years.   As Pastor David recently said:

“Partnering with a church in Mexico to establish a long-term relationship, we have made two successful trips to Mision Metodista Juan Wesley in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  The mission trips were possible because of support from mission-minded disciples like those on the Endowment Fund Committee.  We’ve built a wall properly securing the church’s property, provided much needed medical supplies, painted the clinic and tables, led a vacation Bible school, upgraded the clinic’s indoor lighting, and even led one young adult to answer the call to ministry.  It’s amazing to see how Coker is having a lasting impact on a community of faith a thousand miles away.”

Another way God has worked through the endowment fund was by supporting the Kairos prison ministry with chairs for a new chapel at the Torres Prison Unit, Tom Patterson with the Kairos ministry explained:

“Your generous donation of $5,000 to the Chapel of God’s Country Ministries Inc (the 501C3 created to build the chapel) was a huge and timely blessing! In fact your donation has blessed us more than expected. The chairs we originally intended to purchase where not available, but, we were able to find an alternative chair that meets our needs for a much lower price. That means that your $5,000 donation allowed us to purchase 111 chairs for the new chapel. That is more than expected and a huge blessing for the incarcerated men and volunteers that will use the chapel. Thank you again and God bless you!”

If God is leading you on a path to help grow the Permanent Endowment Fund, Coker members can contribute to the Fund in many ways.  Direct financial gifts are appropriate such as cash, stock, gifts identified in your will, and life insurance proceeds.  Those members, who have reached the age of 70 ½ and are eligible for minimum required distributions or MRDs, can avoid income tax on those funds gifted directly to the church.  In addition, some members have found appropriate estate planning has also allowed them higher retirement incomes while also increasing the amount they can gift from their estates.

To learn more specifics about how you can help grow Coker’s Permanent Endowment Fund, visit with Pastor Gene Roe, Director of Finance Becky Kirbo, or any member of the PEF Committee, chaired this year by Rick McManus. Contact the Church office at 210-494-3455.

The Mexico Mission Trip, Photo Credit: Ashley Vichan. Pictures from the Torres Unit Courtesy of KSAT 12: Read more online at,