Gertie and Dick Butler: Faithful Stewards

When you look up the meaning of philanthropist-“a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, especially by the generous donation of money to good causes”, it describes Dick and Gertie Butler of Little Rock.  

Dick Butler spent many years helping the fledgling United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas become the strong ministry partner it is today. Dick and Gertie Butler are an appropriate beginning for the story of the UMFA. One of the original incorporators in 1963, he had a hands-on, day-to-day role in managing the investments of the Foundation from the start until his death in 1999.  

Gertie and Dick Butler shared a great passion for philanthropy. Just a few examples of their great generosity include their support of Hendrix College, the Butler Center for Arkansas History, the Gertrude Butler Child Development Center, and Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts. Their son Richard Jr. continues their great family tradition of service as an active UMFA board member.   “Gertie was so generous, and so loving. She worked hard at doing good,” said UMFA President Jim Argue, Jr. “It brought her such great joy, whether it was from the grand gifts she and her husband made to so many charities, or whether it was from the peppermint she’d pull from the pocket of her garden jacket to give to some young child.” Gertie passed away in 2007, but the Butler legacy lives on.  

Dick and Gertie created a legacy at UMFA through a series of endowment funds that have allowed the Foundation to grow to its current status as one of the largest grant-making United Methodist foundations in the country. Today’s ability to make transformational grants to United Methodist ministries throughout Arkansas rests in large part on the generosity of Dick and Gertie Butler.  

(The portrait of the Butlers was painted by Betty Dortch Russell)
Posted by Katie Holley at 3:45 PM