As now the sole living member (Ruth Jenkins) active in the management of our church’s financial assets prior to and since their 1973 consolidation as the First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore Trust Fund, I am glad to provide a history of how this Fund so important to our present and future financial viability evolved.
Prior to 1973, Gordon Keen and I had joint access to a safe deposit box at PSFS where all principal gifts (excluding those designated as pledge fulfillments) which had been contributed from time to time were deposited. An account was opened with Gordon’s brokerage firm, and I was assumed to be the primary investment manager reflecting my professional employment at Loomis-Sayles & Company, a firm known well to Gordon and a number of others in our congregation at that time due to personal and/or corporate and eleemosynary account affiliations. (I should add that brokerage orders placed with Gordon were transacted at a commission discount long before this practice became more usual procedure in the marketplace – and, or course, my own contribution was gratuitous.)
By 1973, a recognition of the increasing time inconvenience to Gordon and me in having to jointly open and close our safe deposit box for our own operating purposes, including an annual audit – and the number of individual gifts of both small and larger size which by then totaled sufficient overall value as to warrant more effective and, hopefully, successful management if consolidated – led to Gordon’s and my going to our beloved and far-sighted Dr. Faulds (with Board of Trustees approval) to request merging the separate accounts. He was immediately responsive to our recommendation, and enthusiastic about the investment results that might be realized in time with one combined fund – but cautioned us to proceed conservatively and not “lose money” – and to scrupulously continue to honor our unit percentage participation basis the principal and income wishes of all past and future givers regarding the usage of their gifts where restrictions had been designated – and to maintain our Investment Advisory Committee to oversee whoever in the future might become managers of the Fund.
Accordingly, John Schrader drew up a Declaration of Trust for the First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore – and with organizational and consolidating aspects completed by year end 1973, the Fund known to us as ARDPRES became operational.
How it got its abbreviated name to which we refer to it is rather obvious. Back at the time a brokerage account was opened by Gordon Keen, it became apparent that we were “stuck” with a rather unwieldy and inconvenient title with the name of the Trust Fund of the First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore. Hence evolved for trading purposes the “street” name ARDPRES – an appellation by which our Trust Fund has since come to be known to all of us, much as in the way of a number of given name changes such as Peggy for Margaret, or Jack for John, or Betty for Elizabeth, but in our Trust Fund’s case with possibly a bit more detectably figurable phoneticism!
Has ARDPRES been successful? – Very gratifyingly so in reflection of some right investment positions taken at what fortuitively worked out to have been the right times – and also, importantly, to lovingly given and gratefully received continuing gifts from church members.
From its yearned 1973 starting value of $217.843 ARDPRES now in mid-July ’07 has reached $3,000,000 while annually augmenting our spending dollars.
Permit me in closing to share with you my own strong feelings – and that of the church’s Investment Advisory Committee over these many years – and that of the Davidson Capital management team, our current professional money managers – of the appropriateness that our ARDPRES is a “Trust.”
I have always thought of that word “trust” in a broader meaning than its legal definition – personally recalling the many persons who have given us the funds comprising ARDPRES – and who have trusted us to handle and administer these funds faithfully and competently – from both an investment management and a spending point of view – keeping always our stewardship sights high as to the true mission of the church: spiritual enrichment, and benevolent outreach and service.
I pray God’s blessing on the uses to which the fruits of ARDPRES have been used – and on decisions concerning its future use. It has been a privilege to have participated in its life to date!