BBT Board increases benevolent grant levels




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From a Brethren Benefit Trust release

Pastors and church workers within the Church of the Brethren who are in severe financial need could soon qualify for a little more assistance.

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During its November meeting, the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) Board approved a staff recommendation to increase by 10 percent both the amount of grants allocated through the Church Workers’ Assistance Plan, and how much a person or family can earn and still qualify for a grant. The increases were made as a catch-up provision because these levels have not been increased in a few years. In addition to approving the two increases, the board also approved increasing an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) to the grants and the qualifying earnings amount to help keep up with inflation. That COLA will be set annually by Annual Conference’s Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.

Additionally, three housing allowance resolutions were approved by the board, allowing pastors receiving BBT retirement benefits, Church Workers’ Assistance Plan grant monies, or BBT disability compensation, to designate 100 percent of this income as part of their housing allowance in 2016. 

Staff also gave an update on BBT’s ongoing feasibility study on medical insurance for pastors. A progress report on the initiative will be given in early February, following BBT’s meeting with the Council of District Executives in late January.

During the meeting, the board also dealt with three investment items, approving a new three-year term for Ponder Asset Management, BBT’s short-term manager; and affirmed its action taken in the fall to hire Numeric Asset Management as the new large cap core domestic stock manager, and Capstone as BBT’s new large cap core domestic index manager.

The board also:

-- Passed its 2016 balanced budget, with expenses of $4.5 million.

-- Approved a streamlined meeting schedule for the future, with the April and November meetings taking place on Thursday through Saturday, and a half-day summer meeting held at the conclusion of Annual Conference.

-- Heard a recap from BBT president Nevin Dulabaum and board members Eunice Culp and Wayne Scott, who attended the BoardSource annual convention in New Orleans. BoardSource is a not-for-profit that assists not-for-profit organizations with governance and operations issues. The three gained insights on risk management, the value of mentoring, dealing with conflict, the importance of the work of the audit committee, and the interaction of the CEO with the board.

-- Welcomed Donna Rhodes and Eunice Culp as new members of the board. They succeeded Tim McElwee and Craig Smith, respectively.

-- Jean Bednar of the Brethren Benefit Trust communications staff provided this release.

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