April Board Meeting 2023

The WMU Foundation 2023 spring board meeting was one for the books. Not only was this David George’s last board meeting as WMU Foundation President, but it was also the first in-person spring meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

The meetings began on Monday morning, April 17, with a report from the Vice Chair of the board, John Bergquist, who also served as the chair of the WMU Foundation President search committee. Bergquist shared a few details about the interview process and then showed a video interview with the candidate. After a unanimous vote by board members present at the meeting, Peggy Darby was officially named President-Elect and joined the meeting, as well. She will assume the position of President on July 1 after David George retires on June 30.

Following this, the Awards and Nominations Committee met, voting to grant $812,020.04 in various scholarships and grants. The Development and Promotion Committee meeting followed, including communication strategy and development reports.

“Today we are at an important transition in the life of WMU and the WMU Foundation,” said Chair of the board Bob Cardinal during his short devotion at the full board meeting. “David, we thank you for your faithful service and leadership these last 21 years. Peggy, we pray for God’s hand to lead and guide you. Just as when the children of Israel transitioned from the leadership of Moses to that of Joshua, remember the words God spoke to Joshua in Joshua 1:9: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’”

Bob Cardinal presents David George with a clock for his retirement. Photo by Jennifer Davis Rash/The Baptist Paper

After committee meetings, there was a reception held in honor of David George’s retirement that evening. Over one hundred people came to the national WMU building to offer congratulations to David on his next chapter. He was gifted a clock from the WMU Foundation staff and board as well as an award from leadership at the Canadian Baptist Theological Seminary and College.

On Tuesday morning, guests were invited to a public portion of the board meeting, which allowed the board and guests to hear current reports about national WMU and the WMU Foundation as well as a forecasting of the future of the WMU Foundation. This included the Investment Committee meeting, the 2022 audit report from Mauldin & Jenkins, the first quarter 2023 financial report from Nathan Edwards with Missional Business Services, and the first quarter 2023 review from Synovus Trust. After a tough financial year in 2022, things are looking much healthier and moving forward well for the WMU Foundation in 2023.

In his report, David George recognized the creators of the Hayes Endowment to Combat Human Trafficking, David and Judi Hayes, as well as the 2023 grant recipients, Oleg Turlac with Turlac Mission Beyond the Vineyard and Alexa James with Blanket Fort Hope. Both organizations received $5,855 to help advance their ministries.

From L to R: Oleg Turlac, David Hayes, Judi Hayes, and Alexa James.

“WMU has a long history of love and support for Missionary Kids, or MKs,” George continued in his report. “For close to 100 years, WMU has loved and cared for MKs through scholarships as well as personal support and prayers. When I was a student at Samford University, Bill and Audrey Cowley introduced me to numerous MKs, many of whom I still know and work with today. Audrey passed away a few years ago, and Bill passed last week. I believe they would be thrilled to know that during my time here at the WMU Foundation, we have increased the number of MK scholarships dramatically and will continue that growth into the future.”

He and national WMU executive director Sandy Wisdom-Martin then presented two checks for $5,000 each to Dr. Tammy Anderson, Mississippi WMU executive director, to help with this year’s MK Re-entry Retreat. This annual event has been held since the 1980s and has long been supported by national WMU with an allocation from the Vision Fund. This was the first year the WMU Foundation also gave a grant.

From L to R: David George, Tammy Anderson, Sandy Wisdom-Martin, and Connie Dixon.

“It has been a privilege to serve as WMU Foundation President the past 21 years,” concluded George. “I assure you that my commitment of time, resources, and prayers will be with you as you continue the mission that God has given the WMU Foundation.”

Written by Maegan Dockery, WMU Foundation Communications Manager.

Zachariah Seanor

Director of Mission Advancement