2017 Year in Review

There are two primary factors that drive growth in assets at UMFA, 1) appreciation in the market value of assets under management at UMFA, 2) new charitable gifts received by UMFA. We’re pleased to report that we had a great year on both counts in 2017. 

Asset Growth

We ended 2017 in excess of $165 million, a 17% increase. Although the Arkansas Conference is a comparatively small one, and our state is near the bottom in terms of wealth, our Foundation is the 6th largest in the country thanks to the generous spirit of Arkansas United Methodists.


2017 Investment Performance Review

We completed our sixth year of partnership with Wespath Investment Management, a United Methodist agency that is also responsible for managing the UMC’s $22 billion in pension assets. This has been a great relationship. Their performance and service are top notch, and their efforts in the area of socially-responsible investments can’t be matched. All three of our investment pools are surpassing their 5 year benchmark comparisons.

UMFA is hosting an Investment Forum on February 15, 2018 that will feature presentations from Wespath professionals. Give us a call if you would like to attend.

As the performance numbers below indicate, all three of our investment pools had good years and outperformed their benchmarks. 


Investment Pool
1 Year Return Average 3
Year Return
Average 5
Year Return
5 Year
 Blended Investment Pool  130.90  17.36% 7.03%  8.14%  7.27%
 Growth Investment Pool 10.82 22.50% 9.50%  12.34%  10.91%
 Income Investment Pool 10.30 5.21% 2.91%  2.16%  1.18%

Asset Composition

Our asset composition continues to compare very favorably with our sister foundations across the country:

  • Trustee Accounts: Permanent endowments owned by UMFA. The annual income is used as directed by the donor.
  • Life Income Accounts: Special funds that provide lifetime income to the donor, and then are used to support UM ministries as directed by the donor.
  • Revocable Trusts: Owned by individuals who have named UMFA as their trustee. A substantial portion of these trusts will someday be gifted to UMFA.
  • Agency Accounts: Funds owned by United Methodist institutions and local churches and placed at UMFA for investment management. 


Grant Activity

            UMFA continued to make a dramatic impact on the United Methodist Church in Arkansas. Our grants to support ministry exceeded $5.5 million. Of this total, over $750,000 in grants were made at the discretion of the Foundation’s board to high priority areas. Those discretionary grants are categorized as follows: 

2017 Grant Highlights:

  • We have now provided 34 full scholarships to Arkansas students attending a United Methodist seminary. We have two more students currently on campus, and hope to approve 3-4 more scholarship recipients this spring.
  • We paid the third installment on our $200,000 grant in support of the new student center at Philander Smith College.
  • We made the second installment on our $150,000 grant to Hendrix College to underwrite their new Welcome Center.
  • UMFA’s grant of $80,000 enabled 100 clergy and lay leaders from the ARUMC to attend the Leadership Institute at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
  • A $250,000 challenge grant to match gifts from the ARUMC to support renovation of facilities at Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas, a United Methodist high school for Hispanic students.
  • Forty-nine $1,000 scholarships through the UMC’s Dollars for Scholars program supporting UM students attending UM colleges and universities.   

UMFA New Building

We are within days of breaking ground on a new office building for UMFA! The new facility will provide space for office and storage expansion, resolve issues with our limited parking in our current building, and include a new training center to provide a venue for lay and clergy training activities. We are especially thankful to John and Becki Lusk of El Dorado for their very generous gift to support this building project.

UMFA Calendar

  • February 15: UMFA’s Investment Forum featuring presentations from our investment experts from Wespath Investment Management, the Foundation’s investment manager and the UMC agency responsible for $22 billion+ in UMC pension assets.
  • February 21-23: UMFA is hosting a visit to Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas to explore ways we can support their capital campaign. LPI is an educational institution of the South Central Jurisdiction of the UMC.
  • May 18: UMFA Board Meeting
  • September 19: UMFA Lawyers Conference
  • November 16: UMFA Board Meeting and 33rd Annual Bishops’ Club Luncheon


Thank you for all you do for the United Methodist Church and your support of our special ministry at UMFA. We are so very thankful for your support over the years that allows us to make such a positive impact on the UMC in Arkansas today.  

Hundreds of Arkansas United Methodists have entrusted their charitable legacy to the Foundation to be used for UMC ministries in Arkansas. Many of you are among that number, and we are honored to serve you in this special way. We work hard to make certain we are being a good steward of all that has been entrusted to us. If you haven’t made your plans to express your love and appreciation for the Church in some lasting way, we’d love to visit with you about your options. We’re just a phone call away.

James B. Argue, Jr.
President and CEO