The International Mission Board had investments approaching the $400 million mark in 1998, not including most real estate holdings and equipment.
A two-page document entitled “Financial Reserves” disclosed that the IMB held investments of $382 million as of December 31,1998.
“The IMB’s balance sheet shows total cash and investments of $382,488,000,” the document read.
IMB’s 1998 investments increased almost $24 million from the previous year.
The IMB is among the world’s wealthiest of mission agencies, according to its 1998 financial assets. This stands in sharp contrast with the agency’s almost desperate appeals for support.
Provided to BCE upon request late last week, the IMB “Financial Reserves” document distinguished between “investments” and “reserves,” noting that investments are not always reserves.
Expressing concern about Baptists sharing information with one another about the $382 million in investments, the document warned that Baptists might think “reserves” mean “funds that are or can be made available for current expenditure without collateral damage to the integrity of the IMB’s financial support.”
The document identified $248 million as reserves, committed, restricted or “obligated in some way.”
The document listed the following fund categories and amounts:
(1) contingency reserves of $25 million
(2) missionary and staff life insurance reserves of $24 million
(3) global missionary capital reserves of $47 million [a fund “used exclusively for missionary housing and vehicles”]
(4) missionary catastrophic medical reserves of $2 million
(5) donor restricted endowment/gifts of $27 million
(6) funds appropriated to missions of $35 million
(7) real estate next to IMB office of $2 million
(8) post-retirement/employment benefits of $86 million
The document read, “If we were to subtract this $248 million from the total investments of $382 million, there appears to be $136 million ‘left.'”
The IMB said the remaining $136 million was an “obligated” investment which provided 9.5 percent of its budget.
“No Cooperative Program or Lottie Moon Christmas Offering funds are ever added to IMB reserves,” the document read.
The document also said Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering were insufficient to support international mission work.