Leaving a Lasting Legacy



"We have been investors with the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation for many years. I don’t remember when we first invested but we have continued to have investments there since the beginning.

We chose to invest with the Foundation for a couple of reasons. You offer better interest rates than many places. More important, it is a way to support the Foundation in their work to help United Methodist churches. We believe our church, University United Methodist Church of Wichita, was a recipient of your loan program for a short period of time when we were raising funds for an expansion. It helped the church start on the project before all pledged funds were received. We have a beautiful multi use addition that has provided much needed space and bathrooms. We also now have an elevator for handicapped to better access the basement and Fellowship Hall. We call our new addition the “Gathering Place”, which it is. It is such a warm and inviting space that you see as you walk in the front door. It is wonderful for meetings, lunches, and so nice for families at the time of funerals.

We would imagine the Foundation makes it possible for many churches to do needed building expansion or remodeling that they might not be able to do otherwise. So we are happy to know what we have been a part of the Foundation’s mission. We believe the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation provides very important support for United Methodist churches. We are glad to be a part of the Foundation."

Dick and Cheryl Lewis, Wichita, KS


“When I learned of KAUMF, the certificate of participation helped me express my “faith in action” to help a church. I was serving in local and district roles of the church. The program had comparable interest rates; it was a safe and secure place to keep emotional funds (inheritance) over a period of time. This was exactly what I wanted to do with it, help it grow and be valuable to a church. I put my faith into action,  expressed the serving for local and district conference, got comparable interest rates, and it was a safe and secure place to keep emotional funds.”

Helen Jones, Parsons, KS


“Two reasons - the rates and I love what is done with the money; loan it out to churches to help them.”

Gary Russell, Overland Park, KS


“Positive part for the United Methodist Connection. The certificate of participation provides a good rate of return, adequate liquidity and funds projects for United Methodist churches.”

Wayne and Faye Wagner, Newton, KS


“This is a good way to help our churches. Also as a senior, I want a safe place for my investments.”

Janice Black, Ellsworth, KS


Ruth Ann and John grew up living dowen the street from each other in Pueblo, Colorado. In school, their alphabetical last names often resulted in them sitting next to each other. After graduation, John enlisted in the eefforts of World War II, though he was never far from Ruth Ann’s thoughts. Upon his return, Ruth Ann and John started a family and began their respective careers; Ruth Ann in social work and John in the insurance  business. A job transfer eventually led the Pile family to Topeka, Kansas, where they became members of Crestview United Methodist Church. The two loved to travel and shared adventures in Greece, Israel and Ireland. Ruth Ann recently met Alan Herndon, President and CEO of the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation, during a presentation at Crestview UMC titled “How to Use Your Methodist Foundation”.  Through this visit, Ruth Ann learned about Charitable Gift Annuities through the Foundation. She admits she struggles with the “business side of things” and the Foundation seemed like a nice place to invest her  money. Ruth Ann says a Charitable Gift Annuity is “a great help to me. It is the little things you give that you get back in return.” Crestview United Methodist Church was Ruth Ann’s choice as her beneficiary, as she  has spent over half her life in this church watching families grow up! Ruth Ann believes “a person needs the church as a basis for family. Trust God and His ways.” Through her decision to invest her resources through the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation to benefit her home church, Ruth Ann will continue to help Crestview UMC families grow.

Ruth Ann Pile, Topeka KS


Tom and Phyllis Schneider both grew up in Kansas; Tom in Wichita and Phyllis in Hoisington. Tom and Phyllis met on a blind date arranged by Tom’s seminary roommate who attended church with Phyllis’s parents. With parents who grew up during the Great Depression, responsibly investing their resources became a priority. Tom being a United Methodist Elder, investing with the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation was not only close to home, but also close to the heart. Tom and Phyllis believed that establishing a Charitable Gift Annuity through the Foundation would be a reliable source of personal income in retirement, as well as a way to help the Foundation sustain the United Methodist witness. They chose Southwestern College as the beneficiary for their first Charitable Gift Annuity; the Alma Mater of both of their sons. Camp Lakeside became the beneficiary of a second Charitable Gift Annuity set up by the couple. Serving many years as camp counselors and eventually a member of the camp’s Board of Trustees, Tom and Phyllis continue to have a vested interest in the ministry that continues to bring camp attendees closer to God. During Tom’s tenure in ministry, together the Schneider’s served churches in Leon, Wichita, Johnson, Sublette, Goodland and  Hesston. Tom also served as the District Superintendent for the Concordia District. Upon retirement in 2007, the couple moved to Asbury Park in Newton. Being a part of this dynamic retirement community has led Tom and Phyllis to set up a fourth Charitable Gift Annuity, this time benefiting the ministries of Asbury Park. The Schneider’s have devoted a lifetime to the ministries of the United Methodist Church. With the help of  the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation in establishing these four Charitable Gift Annuities, Tom and Phyllis’s legacy will live on!

Tom and Phyllis Schneider, Newton, KS


After 55 years of harvesting wheat, corn and soybeans on their central Kansas farm, Clinton and Bonnie Russell have planted the seeds for a bounty that will benefit United Methodist churches throughout the state.  Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church described the couple as groundbreakers” during a recent visit to their farm south of Belpre in Edwards County. “You all are breaking new ground for the United Methodist Foundation in Kansas,” he said. “They do a lot of good things at the Foundation, but this was a neglected area which needed some visionary donors who could set some things in motion.”  The couple was recognized for establishing a charitable remainder unitrust at the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation (KAUMF).  The process involved the auctioning of their farm equipment including two tractors, drills and a corn planter. The sale raised approximately $1.3 million for a ministry grant for local churches to enhance their outreach ministries.  Clinton, who celebrated his 80th birthday in January, was advised by his accountant and lawyer that a charitable donation was the best way to avoid taking a tax loss on his farm. He and Bonnie began working with Alan D. Herndon, KAUMF President and CEO. When Herndon calculated projected income using specialized software, the results demonstrated a lifetime of income available to the Russells based on the principal raised from the sale of their farm equipment.  By donating the farm machinery to a charity such as KAUMF prior to the auction, Clinton and Bonnie would avoid paying income tax. The charity would then invest the proceeds from the sale to make agreed payments to the Russells for the remainder of their lives. After the lifetimes of both individuals, the income from the principal would be designated for charitable purposes as directed by the couple.  Clinton, who attended the nearby Trousdale United Methodist Church his entire life, was convinced this was the best approach after reviewing similar charitable arrangements among area Mennonite churches.  John Griffin, an estate planning consultant, prepared an agreement between the Russells and KAUMF, which resulted in the establishment of a Two-Life Charitable Remainder Unitrust.  The couple’s charitable gift will provide ongoing support to a community church that has experienced challenges. In May 2007, both the Trousdale and Greensburg communities were struck by two days of vicious tornadoes.  Damage included the virtual demolition of the Russell’s home church. The congregation voted to rebuild the church and accomplished their goal with a groundbreaking in October followed by a grand opening on Easter Sunday in 2008.  “I have bragged on this congregation now for eight years,” said Bishop Jones who served as bishop of the Kansas West Conference at the time of the tornadoes. “This is a town where the United Methodist Church plays a crucial role.”  Clinton was the building superintendent for the church project, which was completely paid for before construction began. Bonnie has served as church treasurer for 23 years. The couple noted there were no arguments among those planning the design of the new Trousdale church. In fact, they were surprised when separate ideas for the new kitchen turned out to be nearly iidentical.  “That church has maybe the best kitchen in all of Kansas, because that’s where all of the community gathers,” said Bishop Jones. “They did a great job, built a beautiful building, and it fits their congregation. That’s a story about resilience of people who have roots in the community.”  Bishop Jones specifically credits Clinton and Bonnie for playing a crucial role in church leadership. He noted their spirit of leadership continues with their gift to the Foundation. “It will encourage others who are in a similar situation,” said Bishop. “I want there to be Methodist witness to the Gospel to help people know the Lord in as many communities as possible in Kansas.”  Clinton and Bonnie, who have eight grandchildren, a daughter living in Wichita and two sons farming the family land with leased equipment, noted they were unaware about the benefits of establishing a charitable trust. As a result of their positive experience, they encourage fellow farm families to consider similar possibilities.  “It is a joy to have been able to help the Russells avoid taxes and use their assets as they see fit, not just for themselves but for the work of the church through the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation,” concluded attorney Alan Hanson at Hanson & Jorns, LLC.

Clinton and Bonnie Russell, Bel Pre, KS


As a trustee of the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation, I have been extremely impressed by the commitment of the Foundation to continually identify and implement ways to support and enhance the Witness of the United Methodist Churches in the Great Plains Conference.

Accordingly, my wife and I have chosen to support this commitment of the Foundation through the Certificate of Participation program.  Proceeds from the sale of these certificates provide the funds used by the Foundation in making loans to United Methodist Churches and institutions in the Great Plains Conference to build new churches, renovate existing buildings and provide operating expenses in order for the Witness to flourish in communtities throughout the Conference.

In addition, we have supported the Foundation's Sustaining the Witness Fund which is one of the four funds recently made available through Pathways for Discipleship.  As the name implies, this fund supports the Foundation in assuring the Witness throughout the Conference is sustained through the support and expansion of services and programs of the Foundation.

Jerry and Elizabeth Banaka, Manhattan, KS 


It became evident early in my ministry that the people to go to for information about all things financial in the church, are the people of the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation.  I still have the notebook from the 2002 Financial Stewardship Initiative presented by the Foundation, mainly to remind me of the import principals they instilled in my church leadership.

Their services were greatly valued during my time at First United Methodist Church, Belleville, as we became better stewards of our giving and our gifts.  Lee Sankey led our first commitment campaign that increased giving substantially.  And the staff helped to establish our Permanent Endowment board to give mission and vision to those gifts.

I truly believe your local church ministry will be greatly enhanced by using the resources of the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation.

Rev. Lennie Maxwell, Trinity United Methodist Church, Hutchinson, KS


In the winter/spring of 2017, we found the need to conduct a capital campaign at the First United Methodist Church in Arkansas City, Kansas.  We had several needs outside of our regular operating budget.  The trustees decided we needed outside professional help to increase our chances of being successful.  We knew this was one of the services the Foundation provided and we initiated a conversation with Lee Sankey.

Our goal for a 3 year campaign was approximately 1.25 times our annual operating budget.  Lee brought a well thought out, seasoned plan and then tailored it to our congregation and our current needs.  We exceeded our goal by 10%.  We thought the knowledge and experience that he brought to the table was critical to our success.

Dan Deener, First United Methodist Church, Arkansas City



Loan Recipients

"The Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation was a great partner for College Avenue (Manhattan) United Methodist Church as we worked through our fellowship hall addition. I recommend any congregation with a building project to consider utilizing the Foundation."

Eric Williams, Manhattan, KS




Founded in the 1966, Wyandotte UMC is a community of faith that cares. It cares when someone is ill, grieving the loss of a loved one or struggling to pay the bills. It cares that members and visitors alike experience Spirit-filled worship services, Sunday school programs and Bible studies. It cares that future generations will have a place to conduct ministry and learn about the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.

It is this vision of caring that has sustained and propelled this church forward in steady, purposeful steps. In 2009, the merger of the Grandview United Methodist Church into the Wyandotte United Methodist Church took place. Before the merge of the two congregations, Wyandotte UMC completed a capital campaign to develop a building fund. The church invested the capital campaign pledges with the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation’s Certificate of Participation program earning interest so that these funds would grow as the church leadership planned. The church’s investments grew until they needed their funds.

The church started a modern alternative service on Sunday evenings called Alternative Connections in hope of reaching younger unchurched in the area. These years have brought major changes to the church building. The Wyandotte UMC leadership contacted the Foundation to explore their options of using their Certificate of Participation funds for the improvements to their church. The congregation decided to use their investments to enhance ADA accessibility, repair the deteriorating foundation and add a new covered enlarged entrance. A new steeple was placed on the top of the church’s tower. Recently, the installation of energy efficient windows and new blinds throughout the whole church has completed all of the enhancements.

The need for a loan was not required. The use of their investment in the Certificate of Participation program through the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation allowed Wyandotte UMC to complete the improvements.

The celebration of 60 years of ministry at 79th and Oakland, Kansas City, Kansas took place on Sunday, June 26th, 2016 with music provided by “resonate” from the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, outstanding preaching, lunch and then a Service of Celebration and Dedication led by Rev. Kim Dominic. The church was full of current and past family members, visitors and dignitaries from the community. Bill Whiles (Trustee) shared; “It was a blessing from the beginning. Churches need to know that they really do have a splendid resource with the Foundation that they can tap into for financial need and future planning.”

As Wyandotte United Methodist Church prepares for the future, may their faith in Jesus Christ keep them in a mindset of constant service to the Lord so that they may continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!