Since 1946, the Foundation has inspired generosity and multiplied giving that has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to Kingdom-impacting ministries across the state. Now, the nonprofit Christian financial services organization is laying the groundwork for the next 75 years as it shifts to a new brand: WatersEdge.
“We’ve outgrown our name,” said WatersEdge CEO Robert Kellogg. “The word ‘foundation’ is simply too limiting—it doesn’t accurately describe the broad suite of financial services we’re able to provide to individuals, families, churches, ministries and institutions. Besides, few know what a ‘foundation’ is anymore. It’s a vague word that doesn’t resonate, especially with younger generations.”
The new WatersEdge brand serves as an umbrella for the organization’s two branches—“WatersEdge Advisors” and “WatersEdge Ministry Services”—each focused on one of the two primary groups the nonprofit serves: donors and ministries. WatersEdge Advisors meets the needs of donors, assisting individuals and families with charitable giving solutions that maximize tax advantages and multiply gifts to ministry. These services include estate planning, endowment, donor-advised funds, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts and other giving solutions.
WatersEdge Ministry Services focuses on the needs of churches and ministries, providing practical financial solutions that grow resources and minimize the burden of ministry finance. These services include church loans and investments, ministry accounting, asset management, online giving and more.
If the WatersEdge name sounds familiar, it’s because the Foundation has been preparing for this change for more than three years. The transition first became public in January 2019, when the Foundation moved the majority of its church-focused services to the WatersEdge Ministry Services brand. That success laid the groundwork for the Foundation to transfer the remainder of its services to the WatersEdge Advisors brand Nov. 9.
“Our new name may be one of the worst-kept secrets in Oklahoma Baptist life, and that’s intentional,” said Shryln Treadwell, WatersEdge Advisors president. “We have been wrestling with this decision for years. We’ve explored numerous options, sought counsel from dozens of Oklahoma Baptist leaders, including both donors and pastors across the state, all while covering every step of this process in prayer. It’s not a choice we made lightly, but we know it’s where the Lord is leading us.”
Rebranding isn’t new to Baptist life. In 1997, the “Foreign Mission Board” changed its name to the International Mission Board, later adopting the acronym IMB. The “Sunday School Board” followed suit in 1998, changing its name to LifeWay Christian Resources. In 2004, the “Annuity Board” rebranded to Guidestone Financial Resources. Closer to home, the “Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma” became Oklahoma Baptists in late 2019. These changes help organizations respond to growth, meet challenges or explore new opportunities, and mirror the Lord’s practice of changing names to set apart His people for a specific purpose.
“Our move to WatersEdge is no different,” Kellogg said. “For the past 75 years, the Lord’s hand has been on the Foundation. We’ve been blessed with tremendous growth that has allowed us to help Oklahoma Baptists channel hundreds of millions of dollars to advance the Gospel. And now we find ourselves at a crossroads when many Baptist organizations need greater financial support than ever before. We’ve been called to meet that need; we’ve been set apart for that purpose, and the WatersEdge name reflects that truth.”
Kellogg stressed that though the Foundation’s name has changed, its commitment to serving and strengthening Oklahoma Baptists has not.
“Our leadership and our staff are the same,” he said. “Our partnership with Oklahoma Baptists and our allegiance to the Southern Baptist Convention remain unchanged. The only thing that’s changed are the limitations that the Foundation’s name placed on the work that God is calling us to do.”
In addition to offering new services, the WatersEdge brand also opens doors for the Foundation to expand who receives those services, including likeminded ministries and Baptist organizations outside Oklahoma. As one of the largest ministry-based lenders in the Southern Baptist Convention, the Foundation has provided loans to Baptist churches across the country for more than a decade.
“I frequently receive calls from Baptist pastors outside Oklahoma who have heard about our church loan program and want to know if they can apply,” said Jerry Vaughan, WatersEdge Ministry Services president. “Many mistakenly assume we either can’t help or aren’t willing to help because we have ‘Oklahoma’ in our name.
“But I’m grateful I can tell them ‘yes,’ because Oklahoma Baptists are Kingdom-minded people. We want to see the Gospel advance, not only in our state but across the country and around the world. Why do we send Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief teams to states like Texas, Colorado and Louisiana when there is a hurricane, fire, flood or tornado? Because God’s Kingdom is bigger than Oklahoma. That same truth drives us to serve other Baptist churches and ministries, especially in states where fewer churches mean the state’s Baptist convention isn’t able to offer the same number of services that WatersEdge is blessed to provide to Oklahoma.”
Kellogg added that expanding the Foundation’s client base out of state also allows the Foundation to improve services within the state. “Growth means we can continue to lower fees and develop new services, like Ministry Accounting,” he said. “But serving and strengthening Oklahoma Baptists will always be our primary purpose, whether we’re known as the Foundation or WatersEdge.”
Learn more about the Foundation’s new name and get answers to frequently asked questions at WatersEdgeServices.org/newname.
To discover how WatersEdge can help you and your church multiply your God-given resources, visit WatersEdgeServices.org or call 800/949-9988.