The relationship between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s General Assembly Mission Council and the Presbyterian Foundation is moving toward a new, improved model.
“What a difference two years makes,” GAMC Executive Director Linda Valentine told the council’s Executive Committee here Feb. 23.
The two agencies were in “a bad place” at the last General Assembly, in 2008. Conflicts had festered over the years, chiefly around spending formulas and interpretation and use of restricted funds
“We’ve set a whole new tone in terms of the communication and collaboration that is happening,” Valentine said.
She filled the committee in on recent meetings of the GAMC and Foundation’s joint working group, which aims to resolve problems and improve communication between the agencies.
Valentine and the Rev. Tom Taylor, president and CEO of the Foundation, have reported on four areas where the agencies are working to improve: communication, funds development, gifts administration and investments. Taylor began at the Foundation in January, after having served as the GAMC’s deputy executive director for mission since 2007.
The area of gifts administration had historically had the most problems, Valentine said. The agencies had different interpretations of how some restricted funds could be used, resulting in a number of “frozen” funds.
Improved collaboration over the last two years has freed up some of the disputed funds and created better processes to track progress on resolving others.
Communication has also improved, with more face-to-face meetings and phone calls, Valentine said. “I’m very pleased with the spirit of cooperation,” she said.
Valentine also emphasized her responsibility for improving relations between the two agencies. She said she and Taylor agree that their professional relationship is key.
“Underlying all of this is the notion that we are all serving the church together,” she said.