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Presbyterian Foundation board re-elects Tom Taylor as President and CEO for fourth term

Consideration of his re-election by the 225th General Assembly is slated for summertime

by Robyn Davis Sekula, Presbyterian Foundation | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Tom Taylor is president and CEO of the Presbyterian Foundation. (Contributed photo)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana — The Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Foundation unanimously re-elected the Rev. Dr. Tom Taylor as President and CEO at a recent board meeting, making him eligible for a fourth term.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is scheduled to vote on confirming Taylor’s re-election this summer at the 225th General Assembly, which begins June 18.

“We as the Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Foundation celebrate the Spirit-anointed leadership of our brother in the faith and colleague in ministry, Tom Taylor, as he has so ably led and continues to lead the Presbyterian Foundation these past 11 years,” says the Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa, Board Chair. “We unanimously re-elected Tom to a fourth term as President and CEO of the Foundation recognizing his faithful service and wise leadership, even in the midst of a global health pandemic.”

Taylor came to the Foundation in 2010 as President and CEO. Under Taylor’s leadership, multiple indicators of success have dramatically increased. When Taylor first began, the Foundation’s annual gift-amount had declined to $18 million. Ten years later in 2020, the annual amount received was over $100 million. An even higher total is anticipated when 2021 calculations are complete.

Assets under management have grown under Taylor’s leadership as well, from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $2.6 billion in 2021.

Serving churches and the PC(USA)

Beginning in 2012, the Foundation created an online giving tool for congregations and ministry organizations that takes in electronically donated funds and handles all administrative and accounting services for them. In 2020, when COVID-19 required many churches to suspend in-person worship, the annual number of gifts given through the online giving tool more than tripled from the previous year, and the number of donors who gave that year to their churches and ministries through the Foundation quadrupled.

Most heartening according to Taylor is that, since he took leadership in 2010, the Foundation has distributed over $725 million to ministries and missions nationally and around the world — nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars.

In addition to several quantitative indicators of success, the Foundation has come to shepherd several key programs in the PC(USA). The Foundation is partnering with the National Ghost Ranch Foundation to oversee the facilities and programing of Ghost Ranch Camp and Conference Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The Foundation also oversees the Theological Education Fund, which raises funds for PC(USA) seminaries, and the Jarvie Commonweal Service Program, which provides elder care in the New York City region.

Presa notes that Taylor’s work is more than raising numbers. “Tom himself has developed an organization that cultivates relationships, connecting with individuals, congregations, mid councils, agencies, and ecumenical partners,” Presa says. “We are excited for what the next four years will bring under Tom’s leadership and partnership, and we are grateful that he has answered God’s call to live out his vocation among us for the sake of the Gospel through God’s mission in the Presbyterian Foundation.”

Taylor’s background

The Rev. Dr. Tom Taylor has served as an attorney, a theologian, a professor, an author, a pastor, and was the Deputy Executive Director for Mission at the Presbyterian Mission Agency just prior to joining the Foundation.

At the time of Taylor’s hiring, the Board noted that his broad set of experiences and skills made him uniquely qualified to lead the Foundation, especially during this time of dramatic change in philanthropy and culture.

Taylor began his career as an attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah, practicing in litigation with the law firms of Snell & Wilmer and with Snow, Christensen & Martineau. He has taught courses and educational seminars for Princeton Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, the University of Illinois-Urbana and Fuller Theological Seminary.

Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law, and a Ph.D. from Fuller Seminary. He also studied in Germany where he received a PNdS in German language proficiency from the University of Aachen.

Taylor has published numerous academic and popular articles on the interaction of religion, law and culture. His books include the award-winning “Seven Deadly Lawsuits: How Ministers can Avoid Litigation and Regulation (Abingdon Press, 1996) and “Paradoxy: Coming to Grips with the Contradictions of Jesus (Baker Books, 2006).

A vision for the future

When asked why he wanted to stay with the Foundation, Taylor says, “I find genuine joy in what we do at the Foundation. I believe our work of helping to support congregations and organizations in doing their fantastic ministry is especially critical at this time in the history of our church. They are experiencing great challenges these days. We at the Foundation are innovating to find creative, helpful solutions to meet those challenges, and our constituents are using our tools and services in droves.”

The best part of this calling, Taylor says, is working with so many committed Christians who want to make a positive difference. “I still get excited every time I meet with generous individuals to help them fulfill their dreams and convictions of sharing their abundance with the world in order to support vital work that is doing so much good.”

While the Foundation has implemented many new programs and cultivated a much deeper connection with PC(USA) congregations in the past 12 years, Taylor says the needs of churches are rapidly changing, and he wants to help continue to lead that process. “Our strategic planning process allows us to dream big, asking the essential questions about how together we can best serve Christ by helping our constituents fund their missions and ministries. Working with the immensely talented team of people at the Foundation to come up with truly creative ways to answer these questions energizes me every day. And I’m always excited to see what God will do next.”

To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.presbyterianfoundation.org.

Robyn Davis Sekula is Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the Presbyterian Foundation. She is a ruling elder and member of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. She can be reached at robyn.sekula@presbyterianfoundation.org.


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