Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed April 11-17 as “Embrace Alabama Kids Week.” Beginning Friday, April 9, we’ll be celebrating with community paintings and events held throughout the state. As art has a way of bringing people together through curiosity and appreciation, we’re bringing together donors, community leaders, churches and others to participate in community mural paintings in order to bring awareness to the need for embracing and nurturing Alabama’s vulnerable children. The mural events will take place on the following dates with all murals being transported to Montgomery for a final unveiling on Wednesday, April 14. We hope you will safely join us outdoors for a painting or unveiling near you!
Mobile Painting: Friday, April 9 from 4-8 pm at Spot of Tea on Cathedral Square during the LODA ArtWalk
Birmingham Painting: Saturday, April 10 from 10 am – 1 pm at MAKEBhm in Avondale
Montgomery Mural Unveiling: Wednesday, April 14 from 11 – 11:30 am at 420 Clay St. in Downtown Montgomery
Volunteer to Paint a Mural
In Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Mobile, local neighbors and volunteers will “paint by numbers” under the guidance of a local artist to complete a large mural piece. The piece will eventually travel to Montgomery where it will become part of one large mural to be unveiled before city and state officials during Embrace Alabama Kids Week, symbolizing our communities uniting to support God’s children who need it most.
Would you like to get involved?
We are happy for you to stop by or join us for part of the event, but if you are interested in volunteering to paint, we ask that you sign up for a one-hour slot via our brief survey.
Please contact Rebecca Morris at 205-837-0141 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rick Kilgore has long admired the work of the Embrace Alabama Kids, a ministry of the United Methodist Children’s Home, and wants to help ensure that the ministry will be there for future generations of hurting children. He also wants the most profitable return on his investment and the peace of mind that comes with knowing his gift will be used as he intends.
That’s why the longtime supporter recently took a different approach to planned giving. After exploring many avenues, Mr. Kilgore and his advisors came up with a plan that would accomplish all of his goals. “This is not your normal, run of the mill planned gift,” he said.
“By being the guinea pig, we hope we are in a position to help make it easy to provide charitable giving to the Children’s Home [now Embrace Alabama Kids].”
Mr. Kilgore, who has a long history of philanthropy, bought a life insurance policy on his daughter, Beth Kilgore, with plans for it to ultimately benefit the ministry. He named the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham the beneficiary however, and the money will be placed in a donor advised fund. This will give his family flexibility for distributing the gift should the focus of the ministry ever change.
Mr. Kilgore began researching options because he wanted to ensure the future of Embrace Alabama Kids remains strong. With some uncertainty looming with the future of the United Methodist Church, he believes it should be no question that he continue supporting the ministry.
“If people have an uncomfortable feeling, they’re not going to donate,” he said, adding that he wanted to share his story to encourage other donors to make similar provisions in their estate planning. “This gives people a comfort level.”
Buying the life insurance policy allowed Mr. Kilgore to “leverage pennies on the dollar,” according to T.O. McDowell, Regional Director of First Protective, a financial services firm. The cost of the policy on Mr. Kilgore’s daughter was much less than one on himself would be since she is younger and has no health issues.
That means that Mr. Kilgore’s initial investment of about $50,000 will provide an ultimate payoff of $250,000 to benefit Embrace Alabama Kids and won’t impact his estate like an outright gift of $250,000 would have. “This is done a lot more than people realize,” McDowell said.
“Life insurance is leveraged and premiums have never been lower because people are living longer.”
Naming the Community Foundation as the benefactor accomplished several goals. While Mr. Kilgore has specified that he wants the funds to benefit Embrace Alabama Kids – A Ministry of UMCH, the family members serving as advisors will be able to funnel the gift to organizations with similar missions should the need arise.
In addition, the fund encourages generational giving, a concept that is important to Mr. Kilgore. “My children and grandchildren will have a vested interest in the Children’s Home [now Embrace Alabama Kids],” he said.
“They will want to be involved and they will want the Children’s Home to be successful, because that’s where this money is going.”
Donor advised funds can be started by transferring at least $15,000 to the Community Foundation, whether it’s cash, appreciated stocks, real estate, insurance policies, or other assets, according to George Gaskin, the Community Foundation’s Director of Gift Planning. Funds like Mr. Kilgore’s can be advised by two generations of advisors, and they have greater tax advantages and fewer administrative burdens than a private foundation.
Mr. Kilgore said that knowing his planned gift will help children in foster care has given him peace of mind. “My mother was an orphan from the age of 11 or 12,” he said. “She was fortunate that she had a sister who took her in, but not everyone has that today. We feel very fortunate to be in a situation to be able to do this.”
Members of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church serve up lots more than barbecue, camp stew, and all the fixings during their annual community-wide fundraiser. They also provide hope, healing and love to children in need.
Proceeds from the annual Fall BBQ, which the church in Enterprise, Alabama has hosted since 1947, have benefited the United Methodist Children’s Home for 71 of the past 72 years. “The first time they had it, the money went toward their education building,” said Dan Baughman, pastor of the church, which averages about 75 members each week. “Every year since, it’s gone to the Children’s Home.”
The BBQ, which raises about $10,000 a year for the ministry, is a wonderful way for the church members to work together for the common goal of sharing God’s love with the children and youth in UMCH’s care. “This church has a real heart for children, especially children in distressing situations,” Baughman said. “It’s part of our DNA, and this is one more way we can make a difference.”
Church members start preparing on Friday afternoon before the Saturday event, and the youth group has a lock-in that night so they can lend a hand. The children help decorate bags and about 45-50 adults help with cooking and serving. That’s a pretty tall order, considering they sell about 1,000 plates piled high with barbecue, hash, camp stew, rice, coleslaw and white bread.
Dr. Blake Horne, President and CEO of UMCH, has attended the event for the past several years to share about the Children’s Home and its important work.
“Everyone knows why we are doing this, and I think that’s what has helped this take such seed in this community,” Baughman said. “It’s really everybody working together, and it looks like
a picture of the kingdom of God. It’s all ages, all walks of life working together for this one thing. It’s awesome.”
The widely popular social media platform, Facebook, receives both praise and criticism.
However, among the long list of pros is one function that has significantly aided children served by the United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH). Since made available to UMCH in November 2019, many supporters have used their birthdays as opportunities to benefit kids in UMCH’s care.
“The birthday fundraiser is a selfless act of kindness that we would not expect but are regularly receiving now,” said Rebecca Morris, Senior Vice President of External Affairs. “The fact that anyone would redirect the attention most of us enjoy receiving on birthdays toward vulnerable children, who often go under the radar, is simply remarkable and selfless,” she added.
Facebook is generous in its administration of the birthday fundraiser capability as well, waiving any administrative fees for the transfer of funds. For charities such as UMCH, a contributor’s entire gift goes directly to the charity benefited. Prompted by an appreciation for the care UMCH provides vulnerable kids, Alex Alewine set up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook to benefit UMCH — the first one hosted since UMCH acquired approval for the function.
“I think the Facebook fundraisers work because they reach so many people, and a lot of people can give just ten dollars, and before long you have a fair amount of funds you’ve raised,” Alex said. “My husband and I believe that it is the Church’s responsibility to serve the needs of our communities,” she added.
“This is a ministry we feel good about donating to, we see that the needs are there, and we think UMCH is meeting those needs.”
Photo Caption: Alex Alewine and her husband, Hank, are passionate supporters of the United Methodist Children’s Home.