The CPF Board: Chosen by the Church to Serve
Did you know that General Convention elects 24 out of the 25 members of the Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees (CPF Board)1 and that through these elections, it can influence the strategy and policies of CPF and its subsidiaries, collectively the Church Pension Group (CPG)?
That’s why experienced members of the House of Deputies such as Warren Wong encourage fellow deputies to pay close attention to CPG’s work and to read candidate bios carefully so they can elect gifted people to serve. At a recent CPG-hosted event on shareholder engagement, Mr. Wong, a seven-time deputy from the Diocese of California, challenged the audience to do just that.
In the months leading up to General Convention next summer, we will publish a series of articles about the CPF Board. We will describe its roles, its work, and its impact. We also will introduce you to a few current CPF Board members so you can see how specific professional and vocational backgrounds are critical to the work of the CPF Board and to CPG’s service to the Church. We hope you find them useful.
Chapter 1: The Role of the CPF Board of Trustees
CPF Board members are fiduciaries, which means they have a legal and ethical responsibility to make sure CPG is managed in the best interests of its plan participants and to guide CPF toward a financially sustainable future. With input from CPG’s management team and a select group of third-party experts, the CPF Board approves big-picture policies that guide CPG’s work, including benefits policies, annual budgets, investment strategy, human resources philosophy, performance criteria, and other governing principles for the organization.
CPG is led by a team of talented professionals who look to the CPF Board’s insight and oversight for guidance. Here are a few examples:
- In her first year on our Board eight years ago, Canon Kathryn Weathersby McCormick, former Canon for Administration and Finance for the Diocese of Mississippi, encouraged us to focus on part-time clergy and consider this emerging trend when crafting benefits policy. Her insight, which was the result of years of experience as a diocesan executive in Mississippi, gave us a head start in understanding a critical shift in clergy deployment that has influenced pension policy in recent years.
- During his first term on the board, the Rev. Timothy J. Mitchell, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Louisville, Kentucky, leveraged his years of professional investment experience to raise probing questions about CPF’s commitment to socially responsible investing (SRI). These questions helped us to realize that we needed to do a better job of highlighting the good work we are doing in this area. They also led us to develop our series of Insights & Ideas events focused on SRI. In addition, after several conversations about this type of investing and its role in managing CPF’s portfolio of assets, the CPF Board adopted a philosophy on it that guides our work to this day.
- When we were considering revisions to The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan (the Clergy Pension Plan), CPF Board member Kevin Lindahl drew on his expertise as Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel of the Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado. He helped us vet what ultimately became the most comprehensive set of revisions to the Clergy Pension Plan in more than a century.
CPF Board members are diverse in personal background and professional experience, and they bring all of their gifts to the table at least four times a year to listen, learn, discuss, challenge, and push CPG forward as we continue to serve the needs of an ever-changing Church.
1 The 25th trustee, the CEO of CPF, is appointed by the CPF Board.