The Art and Joy of Giving Money Away

by Charles Hewgley, Chair, Golden Cross Foundation

The Golden Cross Foundation (GCF) was chartered in 2013 to support the creation and development of older adult ministries in local churches of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. Part of that work involves the GCF board approving grant money to give away each quarter. Grant programs focus on health, transportation, nutrition, housing, and outreach and support for older adults.

Giving money away does not imply there is an unlimited supply. But the funds accessed by GCF are generous for investing in the quality of life of older adults.

Since the launch of GCF seven years ago, members of the board have granted more than $500,000 to local churches and United Methodist organizations. For information about grants awarded in 2019 visit

We have more money to distribute in 2020 and beyond! Visit for guidelines and a grant application.

In 2017, GCF created ENCORE Ministry. Under the direction of Rev. Dr. Richard Gentzler, Jr., ENCORE Ministry provides training, support, resources, and networking opportunities to equip conference church and lay leaders for intentional ministry by, with, and for midlife and mature adults. It also serves as the Older Adult Committee for the Tennessee Conference.

With training, resources, support, and grant money, GCF is increasing the ability of Tennessee Conference churches, organizations, and clergy to minister to the personal and spiritual needs of older adults.

You may ask, “How can GCF do this? Where does the money come from?”

The GCF was designated to receive initial seed funding from the McKendree Village Foundation. It is also a beneficiary of Golden Cross special Sunday offerings from Tennessee Conference churches and receives individual and organizational donations. In addition, GCF board members are responsible for creating fundraising opportunities to sustain grant programs.

One a group of siblings who endowed a category for matching grants in honor of their parents that enable local congregations to assist older adults in their church or community with personal and/or financial needs. Today, Fred and June Blankenship Grants for Individual Assistance are one of six GCF grant categories. Dr. Fred Blankenship was a beloved pastor of the Tennessee Conference, district superintendent, and fund developer for conference campaigns. For more information about the grant categories, visit

Thanks to the support of individuals, families, and organizational and corporate donors, the Golden Cross Foundation board joyously continues to give grant money away. If you would like to support the mission and ministry of GCF, visit If you, your family, or your organization is interested in discussing new opportunities to endow or support a targeted grant category, contact GCF Executive Director Kent McNish at

No matter how you support the Golden Cross Foundation, you too can enjoy the art and joy of giving away money. I’ll talk more about this in the next issue of Golden Cross Connections.