2017-18 Grants Reach New High

The following grants were made during this last fiscal year, making it the highest year in the 20-year history of the Foundation in terms of funds granted. They include grants from the undesignated fund and many designated funds. Additionally, grants were made to eligible ministries from donor advised funds.


Home Missions
Esperanza                              $85,000
Alcy Ball Development Corporation      $75,000
Downtown Church                        $45,000
My Cup of Tea Ministry                 $25,000
NCC College Scholarships               $89,850

World Missions

2PC World Missions                    $135,950
First Greek Evangelical – Athens       $40,000
Intercultural Church                   $40,000
Planting Network – Netherlands
Philemon Project – Beirut              $40,000
Covenant Hope Church- Dubai            $35,000
China Partnership                      $31,000
Mozambique                             $25,781
Intercultural Church                   $15,000
Planting Network – Europe                     

Christian Leadership Development

Seminarian Scholarships               $181,855
Youth Internships                      $59,000
Pastoral Internships                   $24,000
Christian Psychological Center         $20,000
ECS Scholarships                       $15,700
Youth Donor Advised Funds              $12,000
Presbyterian Day School Scholarships   $11,500
PDS Young Scholars Program             $11,235
Children’s Music Ministry              $10,000
Music Ministry Internships              $8,200
Fellows Program and Scholarships        $6,250
College Music Scholarships              $4,200
French Camp Academy Scholarships        $4,000
Children’s Ministry                     $2,500
Library                                 $1,560
Conservatory Scholarships               $1,500

Subtotal                            $1,056,081

Donor Advised Grants                $1,192,441 

TOTAL                               $2,248,522

Sounding Forth: Truth and Love

Laurence Towner is a counselor with Sage Hill Counseling in Memphis and is a fifth generation member of Second.  She is daughter of Kathleen and Jud Towner; sister of Buck and Katherine Towner; and granddaughter of Ginny and Justin Towner. She received support from the Foundation to attend Dallas Theological Seminary, where she received her Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling in 2015.

As a graduate student, she began her practicum and internship work with Windhaven House, a sober living facility for women struggling with substance abuse and addiction. She later joined their counseling team, which included individual counseling as well as an Intensive Outpatient Program designed specifically for women an their families. She became very familiar with the 12 steps of recovery, as well as the freedom that can be found within the binds of addiction.

Hear, in Laurence’s words, her seminary experience and what it prepared her for:

My experience in seminary was the time in which I grew in my understanding of God’s faithfulness and love.  This process wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Foundation and Second Presbyterian Church. I left my job and became a full time student and had to learn what it meant to fully trust the Lord with every area of my life and surrender any control or perceived comfort. I was able to see the Lord provide in ways I could never imagine and continue to return to these times and remember His faithfulness in the difficult times of navigating through private practice and trusting the Lord will continue to provide.

My time in seminary prepared me specifically for making Christ the center of all things. During my time in seminary it was easy to find my identity in my schoolwork, getting the perfect internship opportunity, gaining the most Bible knowledge, or landing a great job once I graduated.  While I desire good things, they will never fulfill Christ’s place in my heart.  It was a struggle to balance studying the Bible to maintain my grades and reading God’s Word out of a desire to live and know Him more. I have been richly blessed with the example of professors and fellow students to remind me of this Truth and always seek His Word.

While learning and growing in my knowledge and understanding of the nature of Christ, I also experienced the most loneliness. It required me to push through discomfort and engage in community. Through my church and classmates I was able to establish community in Dallas and grow in my relationship with Christ and others. This is foundational to my personal growth and must be in place in order for me to care for others especially in a ministry setting.

Seminary was a time of joy as well as deep suffering and pain. I learned a lot about my sin and myself. While I came to understand more of my humanness, the Lord revealed more of Himself, His love, and His grace.  Our seminary requires students in the counseling program to be involved in their own weekly counseling. This time prepared me to continue to learn more about myself while learning more about God and who He says I am in Christ. One of the most valuable things I learned in seminary is the reality that there is always something new to be learned about God. It is a continual experience of knowing more and growing more with my Creator. It instilled a desire to continue to seek God through the His Word and relationship, and celebrating who He created me to be.

Everything I learned in seminary directly impacts the way in which I am able to counsel other people. In the midst of my inconsistency, the Lord in His character is absolutely consistent and unchanging which provides the foundation and strength to be the person He has called me to be. He has faithfully provided each and every step of the way and I trust He will continue to do the same through my ministry.

Ministry opportunities with which she had been engaged both during and since seminary

When I decided to go to seminary, I went with the hopes of getting a degree in Biblical Counseling to work specifically with women struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. My ministry experience includes working with a women’s sober living home, providing counseling and a consistent presence for women struggling with substance abuse and addiction. I’ve been able to share my own story of recovery and God’s faithfulness praying it may provide hope to those who are broken and suffering. My time with Windhaven House Sober Living in Texas changed my understanding of addicts and alcoholics and allowed me to understand on a greater level the heart issues occurring in humanity and our deep need for a Savior. Windhaven House expanded to Windhaven Counseling Center, which included individual therapy, family therapy, and Intensive Outpatient Program. Currently, I am in private practice with Sage Hill Counseling in Memphis serving a range of ages, backgrounds, and life circumstances with Christian counseling.

Highlights of her current ministry position

My current position as a therapist with Sage Hill has been an absolute joy. The Lord has affirmed my desire to sit with people who are struggling and desire change or some who desire to learn about more themselves. I believe counseling provides a space and relationship unlike anything else we have experienced. It is a joy to sit with clients and experience change, as they are able to see who God created them to be, finding freedom in that identity, and moving towards change. I absolutely love my clients and each one brings unique gifts to their own process. I delight in sharing that space with these people and seeing how the Lord uses the time and works in their hearts as well as mine. I’ve always enjoyed people and it is a gift to share in the hurts, pain, shame, wounds, accomplishments, excitement, and joy with someone else. My hope is for each client to know what it means to be created in God’s image and Sage Hill Counseling does an incredible job of stewarding this Truth.

Lifetime ministry goals

 My lifetime ministry goal is to open a sober living home for women that is Christ centered. I have a passion to work with those feeling enslaved to their addiction and experiencing true freedom in the truth of Christ’s work on the cross. I hope I will always be involved in private practice in some capacity because I’m able to sit with people struggling with different issues but seeking growth and change.

Her biggest takeaway from seminary

Each day in one way, shape, or form I reach for something I learned or experienced during my time in seminary.  Dallas Theological Seminary’s motto is “Teach Truth. Love Well.” This is something the professor’s and community instilled in me since my first day on campus and I hope it is something that continues with my life and ministry. I pray that I always want to learn and teach Truth, and love others because of the deep saving love I’ve been shown through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Upcoming Seminar Offers Basic Estate Planning

Do you need practical, useful and not overly technical information about relevant estate planning issues so that you can begin to order your estate or revisit your current plans due to changes in law or the passage of time?

Great news! This fall you will have an opportunity to get this information as part of a free six-session MidWeek class in the comfortable and familiar setting of our church. The class, entitled "Basics of Personal Finance and Estate Planning," will focus on issues surrounding financial responsibility for today’s Christian family.

The purpose of the last two sessions, which will be held on November 7 and 14, is to present ways for those attending to plan their family’s affairs in such ways that will avoid undesired financial, legal, and tax problems, and to clearly explain the vehicles that provide solutions to their goals. Local attorneys with expertise in these fields will conduct the sessions.

November 7th Session
This session is designed to provide a basic understanding of legal terms and the purpose of legal documents so that attendees may be conversant with their professional advisors and make informed decisions.

Topics covered include:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Basic Federal and Tennessee Estate Planning
  • Living Wills
  • Lifetime Gifts and Transfers

November 14th Session
This powerful presentation is designed to identify the key issues surrounding estate planning and in doing so, educate and motivate attendees to take appropriate action.

Topics covered include:

  • The changing world of estate planning and taxes – things you need to know
  • Estate planning challenges every family must face
  • Top 10 mistakes most families make
  • Brief history of the death tax and where it is going
  • Issues Congress must confront
  • How assets pass at death
  • Issues we must confront as we get older

Be on the look out for the entire six-week description in the fall MidWeek brochure soon. You don’t want to miss this series!

Ligon Duncan to Speak at 20th Anniversary Dinner

The evening of Friday, April 6th has been set aside to celebrate, learn more about the impact of the Foundation, and be encouraged by guest speaker Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, III, Chancellor, CEO and Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. Dr. Duncan may be remembered as the key worship leader some years ago at the community-wide reformation service held at Second.

A native of South Carolina, Dr. Duncan received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and supplied churches in Britain. In addition to serving on the faculty of RTS, his pastoral ministry for over three decades and four congregations includes that of Senior Pastor at historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. He became Chancellor/CEO of RTS in 2013. He has authored or contributed to 35 books, is active in the Presbyterian Church of America, and has frequently addressed audiences here and abroad.

Make plans to attend this free dinner event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

Make your reservations online (one registration is required for each person attending).

Click Here to RSVP

FUNdation Fridays

FUNdation Fridays

May 19, 2018 will mark 20 years since the formation of the Second Presbyterian Church Foundation! As a part of acknowledgement throughout the 20th year and leading up to the celebratory event on April 6th, 2018, a monthly event will highlight congregational passion toward the ministry partners of our church and provide a thank you opportunity from the Foundation in recognition of our generous and charitable congregation. The details of this unique and enterprising endeavor, which is also designed to inform the congregation about the mission and work of the Foundation, are below.

A Letter from Sandy Willson

Dear Friends,

In 1998 several of our devoted members established the Second Presbyterian Church Foundation as a mechanism to encourage long-term financial stewardship for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God in Memphis and around the world. Over the past sixteen years, their vision has been growing into a beautiful reality. The keys to a successful missional foundation are all in place: godly and competent board members, a charter that guarantees independent and strategic decision-making in the years to come, an aggressive vision to minister to the city and the world, solid financial advisors, and many partners (like you) who pray and give and serve for God’s glory.

The Foundation has grown from $3 million to more than $25 million in assets. These funds are making a difference for Christ in Cambodia, Ukraine, India, Argentina, China, Western Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. They have helped support the creation of the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies, the Shalom Project, NEXUS, and many urban gospel projects in Memphis, including our Hispanic outreach efforts. The Foundation carefully coordinates its efforts with the Second Presbyterian World Missions and Mission Memphis Committees, thus wisely mobilizing other gifts and our members’ personal involvement. I have seen first hand the effective work being done by the Second Presbyterian Foundation here and around the world, and I am moved with gratitude for all those saints who have given sacrificially and for all those who have strategically planned their estates in order to advance the Kingdom of God. You are making a difference.

There is yet much work to be done in reaching the lost and the left behind both in this city and among the most vulnerable people in our world. It is a joy for me to invite you to join Allison and me by placing the Second Presbyterian Foundation in your will or by giving special gifts for their strategic projects. You do not need to be a member of Second Presbyterian Church to participate. You only need to be a person who wants all of your life’s resources to be spent wisely for the Kingdom.

Yours for His glory,
Sandy Willson
Former Senior Minister

New Fund Provides Access to Christian Education

New Fund Provides Access to Christian Education

Second Presbyterian Church birthed Presbyterian Day School in 1949. The founding of PDS was an incredibly important missional decision by our church in furthering God’s Kingdom. Since its inception, PDS’s mission has been to honor God by developing boys in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. PDS is deeply rooted in its founding belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and that Christian education is vital.

It is an integral part of the PDS mission to provide an academic and Christian foundation not just to those who can afford it, but also to boys who would otherwise not have access to a PDS education. Second Presbyterian Church and subsequently the Foundation have historically supported that mission with the Clay Scholarship Fund, which was established by a donor to support boys of members of Second seeking financial aid through PDS.

The Importance of Proactive Planning

At this year’s Foundation Dinner our speaker, Chuck Jacob, gave some thought-provoking insights on the reasons why we as Christians should make noble plans. As I listened to the presentation, I thought about 2 Kings 20:1, “Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.”

We have all prayed the childhood prayer, “And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” However, only rarely do we contemplate during evening prayer what preparations we have made with respect to our final wishes and material possessions, should we actually die before we wake. Are we going to our eternal home leaving our earthly homes in a state of chaos or of order? The answer to this inquiry is a significant one. 

Hezekiah gets a clear wake-up call from the Lord when he is told “Get your house in order.” This is a command that is particularly meaningful to me. My husband, Skip, died at age 40 after only nine years of marriage. At 37 years old, I was a widow and mother of two very young boys. I can testify to the importance of “putting your house in order.” 

Based on my life experiences, I encourage everyone to initiate or review his or her estate plans. Once you have taken the steps to get your house in order, it is also important to maintain that order over the course of your life. For example, after Skip’s death, new plans were needed. I had a new will prepared and purchased a new life insurance policy. 

While you are living, it is very important to organize and communicate what actions are to occur upon your death. Who should be called? Where are your important documents kept? Where is the list of monthly and annual bills due and payable? What is the name of your lawyer and accountant? Did you plan your funeral? Did you purchase a burial plot and if so, where? 

You may be thinking, “I know, I know, it’s on my to-do list” or asking “How do I begin this process or update my existing, but outdated plans?” You can begin by calling the Foundation at Second, and they can point you in the right direction. Just last fall, the Foundation invited a local attorney to come and tell us in clear simple terms what steps to take. The presentation was in terms we all understood. We talked about ownership of property, asset protection for underage children, life insurance, and charitable giving. If you missed it or need a refresher, the presentation is available at 2pcfoundation.org/presentation.

Every participant left the room more knowledgeable about what issues we needed to think about and what legal, accounting, and insurance actions needed to be taken, implemented, or reviewed. We learned that the time expended and costs incurred to prepare for death are very reasonable. We also all agreed that the time and costs associated with a decedent’s estate can become very unreasonable in the event no plans are made prior to death.

Each year, I have found it helpful to review a summary of all my estate plans at an annual meeting with family. My lawyer and accountant/financial representative are available to review my estate plans to see if changes or additions are needed based on changes in law, family, and interests in property and possessions. Consider this action whether you are single or married, young, or old. 

Remember, planning and the communication of your plan are the best gifts you can give to your survivors.

Libby Dickinson