WatersEdge made history in December of 2022, finalizing a yearly distribution of over $31 million dollars to Kingdom-impacting ministries — a new record in the organization’s 75-plus year history. To the staff and donors who made this distribution possible, the number serves as an answer to prayer in a challenging year and an affirmation of a God-sized goal that took a decade to come to fruition.
In 2013, WatersEdge leadership had a vision to distribute $25 million annually to ministry by the year 2025. Known as “25×25″ for short, the number seemed practically impossible since, at that time, the most the organization had ever distributed in a single year was $12 million. Still, the distribution grew steadily, and 2022 marks the fourth year the $25 million figure was met or exceeded. 2022 also represents the first time the 25×25 goal was reached in two consecutive calendar years.
WatersEdge staff are quick to stress that this achievement isn’t due to them, but to the incredible generosity of the individuals and families who faithfully give.
“I tell the story of 25×25 as a story of God’s blessing,” says Robert Kellogg, WatersEdge CEO. “It’s a story of the generosity of our donors, too, and it’s a testimony to the value and the impact of the charitable beneficiaries that are being supported. If God wasn’t blessing this, it wasn’t going to happen.”
25×25 distributions are made from a variety of sources, including multiple charitable giving vehicles offered by WatersEdge. Two categories were especially strong in 2022: donor advised funds and endowments. Distributions were sent to over 550 unique beneficiaries, the vast majority of which are Southern Baptist ministries that focus on changing lives with the Gospel. They include churches, seminaries, Christian universities, children’s homes, missions organizations and many more.
“It is not surprising that endowment and donor advised funds were strong contributors in meeting our goal in 2022,” says David Depuy, chief financial officer and president of WatersEdge Advisors. “Endowment provides a church, ministry or institution with the financial stability it needs for the long run, while donor advised funds provide the capital needed to support current projects. We remain thankful to God for His provision in a year with considerable challenges.”
Those challenges — most notably a volatile economy — were a unique aspect of the 2022 distribution. “All signs pointed to the fact that we were going to lose money, and we were worried that we might miss the 25×25 target for the year,” Kellogg says. “But we ended up having the most profitable year for minerals (oil) in our history, which feels like an affirmation of God’s hand on WatersEdge.”
As WatersEdge now turns its focus toward 2023 charitable distributions, Kellogg is firm that meeting the 25×25 challenge isn’t an end unto itself.
“We’re not going to stop at $25 million,” he says. “We’re going to hit the throttle and keep going in new, exciting ways. WatersEdge exists to financially empower donors and ministries to transform lives with the Gospel, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
By Kedrick Nettleton