WaterStone was blessed to convene the 2015 WaterStone Giving Academy in Colorado Springs August 19-21. The WaterStone Giving Academy is our premier educational forum designed to educate and equip financial professionals and ministry and nonprofit leaders from around the country. Our goal is simple. To connect Christian givers, their advisors, and ministries to the innovative giving services and strategies that WaterStone can provide.
Over 60 professionals attended this August’s program. Representing the entire span of the map of the United States. From California to Florida, Minnesota to Louisiana, the Lord gathered a community of men and women committed to honoring God by stewarding their client and donor relationships by championing intentional giving strategies to help build his kingdom.
On Wednesday, August 19, ministries and nonprofit leaders convened to hear how they can uncover more resources to fuel more ministry projects that honor God by serving his people. The key take away for ministry leaders was the tremendous opportunity they have to serve their donors by educating them to look outside their cash resources for additional giving opportunities from assets like real estate, business interests, and energy and agricultural commodities.
When asked her thoughts about the Giving Academy Ministry Day, Breanna Davis, Save the Storks’ Donor Liaison, replied, “The Giving Academy opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about giving.”
On Wednesday night, the WaterStone Giving Academy held a special session of bowling at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill at the local Bass Pro Shop. We shared food, fellowship and a few strikes and spares as we forged new relationships and strengthened existing ones. During the program, attendees heard from WaterStone’s giving experts and analyzed case studies from the field.
Eric Dunavant, president of E Six-thirteen, remarked, "The WaterStone Giving Academy continues to exceed my expectations. I always come away encouraged and with new ideas for helping my client families make a greater impact for giving. It’s amazing what you can learn from other advisors and the innovation and flexibility of WaterStone continues to create opportunities for the Kingdom.”
Mark Ralfs, a first time WaterStone Giving Academy attendee commented, “This was an amazing two days. The ‘what's and how's’ of the various charitable strategies presented were compelling and will add to my toolkit of planned giving options. However, the most compelling part for me was the 'why' we were all there. This conference brought together advisors and experts who, first and foremost, love the Lord, and have the desire to guide others to an intersection of faith and finance that will truly honor God! What a distinct privilege it is to be counted in this type of advisor community!”
Brad Gornto, president of Effectual Giving, stated, "What a joy it was to participate as both a speaker and an attendee at WaterStone's August 2015 Giving Academy in beautiful Colorado Springs! All around, the semi-annual Giving Academy program is a tremendous learning and networking resource to Christian financial planners, estate planning attorneys and accountants. This is particularly true for those professionals who are interested in seamlessly integrating donor advised funds and established planned giving tools into their practices for the benefit of their clients and ultimately the ministries they support."
Jim Fisher, president of Trinity Financial Partners, challenged the group to 30 days of prayer to consider how to incorporate the tools learned and inspire Kingdom-building generosity in the various practices represented. When asked his thoughts regarding the WaterStone Giving Academy, he stated, "The Giving Academies keep getting better and better:
- In depth immediately applicable stewardship solutions for clients at all levels.
- Important deeper repetition of best ideas and best practices.
- Growing interaction and fellowship with the brightest and best of Kingdom-minded estate owners, planners, development officers, CPAs, attorneys and others assisting in the process."
The WaterStone Giving Academy will convene its winter program in Southern California in early 2016. For more information on the WaterStone Giving Academy, whether you’re a financial professional or nonprofit professional, we invite you to join the WaterStone Community of Giving. We hope to see you at next year’s WaterStone Giving Academy!