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.
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.
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.
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.
portrait of the Butlers was painted by Betty Dortch Russell)