The 2017 edition of the WaterStone Giving Academy, which convened August 16-18, was an enormous blessing to the 67 attendees, as well as the WaterStone team. This year’s Giving Academy proved once again that while each of us comes with a business card that gives us a specific identity - nonprofit executive, financial professional, business leader - we all wear multiple hats as members of the community of faith and giving.
Most of us also devote time and talents to support ministries and churches through volunteer work and by serving as board members. Go one step deeper and we discover that all of us are givers who financially support a host of causes.
The 2017 WaterStone Giving Academy went beyond the technical aspects of charitable giving strategies. WaterStone's gift planning team led by John Mulder and Stacy Westover, broke down specific case studies that highlighted the economic benefits of incorporating charitable giving strategies into business succession and retirement planning.
Attendees also benefitted from the presentations of two dedicated wealth management professionals, Paul Damon and Kelley Schubert. Each shared how they strive to steward the client relationships that the Lord has put before them by educating and equipping their clients to plan intentionally and efficiently.
Lisa Wolf of the Westfall Gold Group, enlightened the Giving Academy audience with a careful and detailed discussion of major donor analytics. Lisa emphasized the critical importance of connecting with potential major donors by communicating personally so they understand the heart of an organization’s work, which is transforming lives. The phrase that captures this shared sense of purpose between organization and supporter is “missional relationships.”
Perhaps the greatest blessing of the WaterStone Giving Academy was the forging of new relationships among the attendees. For example, a California-based ministry focused on providing Christian education programs to children is actively seeking to expand into a host of new countries. At the Giving Academy, this ministry connected with another leader with a long-standing and deep presence in India. What began as a casual conversation has developed into a future partnership to bring a host of new programs into India. At the same time that India-based ministry, who is also working in Southeast Asia, is seeking a partner in Vietnam. By divine appointment, the gospel-centered ministry serving Vietnamese peoples around the world, had two representatives on tour at the event. Again, the Giving Academy was able to spur a new relationship to help carry and propel the continued spread of the gospel.
The highlight of the WaterStone Giving Academy came when David Hazell, founder of My Father’s World, a leading homeschool curriculum provider, exhorted the audience to commit more fully to serving the Lord, even if it means taking greater personal sacrifices. Before they were Christian entrepreneurs, David and his wife Marie, served as missionaries in remote Siberia. They encouraged the attendees to test their faith by asking this question: Am I truly prepared to give up all I have right now and follow the Lord on a totally new path and life that may call for re-dedication, sacrifice, and selflessness?”
One attendee at this year's WaterStone Giving Academy summed up his experience: "I came to the WaterStone Giving Academy to find a technical solution for the assets that I own. Not only did I find the answers I sought, I gained relationships with other investors in similar situations and with financial planners who are familiar with WaterStone’s solutions.”
Thank you again to everyone that made this year’s Giving Academy such a success and blessing for those that attended. Visit our Events tab on our website for information on future Giving Academies. We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event!