In the Beginning…
Art Ally, Founder of Timothy Plan, tells his story of Invested with Purpose. I’ve been in the business, at the time we launched Timothy, for 18 years. I’m helping my Christian clients invest their money, and I got challenged to create a retirement plan for pastors of independent churches.
So, that appealed to me. Ministry and mission is important to me. We set about trying to put a package together for them. In that exercise, it hit me, like a ton of bricks, that I can do this. It finally forced me to look at what made up a mutual fund, which is what funds these retirement plans; and the kinds of companies these mutual funds own violated biblical principles, so I have pastors standing in the pulpit, preaching against the evils of abortion and pornography and the like. And at the same time, their retirement dollars are invested in companies that are involved in or funding that stuff.
So it was either forget about it, or launch an investment program that would be unique and fit their real needs.
It Can’t be Done
Alan Ross, Board of Trustees Timothy Plan, shares his initial thoughts.When Art first came to me with the idea of a screened mutual fund that he was going to call Timothy, I said, “Art, I think you’re crazy. I just don’t think this will work.” I just thought it was going to be a hard act to bring into the capital marketplace because capital marketplaces are about one thing: Return.
Glen Repple, CEO, Investment Advisor Firm, shares how he incorporated Timothy Plan funds and grew his book of business. Timothy Funds was the very first mutual fund company to do biblically-based screening of stocks, and looking at what these companies are doing internally.
Cheryl Mumbert, Chief Marketing Officer Timothy Plan, recalls the day she heard that Art, her father, was considering this new business. I thought, “What are you thinking? You’re 52 years old. You have a successful firm, and you’re going to just sell it and start something you have no idea about?” He has great plans, and they’re usually successful, so there was nothing I could do but to go along with it.
Stephen Ally, Chief Operating Officer Timothy Plan, remembers the initial challenges of launching the funds. Some of the questions that we got, we were making phone calls to financial advisors. It was, “Won’t the screens limit your ability to perform?” And we contend that even if it did, obedience trumps performance. But over time, we’ve proven that it doesn’t; but in the beginning, yeah, that was a big obstacle.
Stepping Out In Faith
Art explains, I had no illusions, no idea of where this was going. I did know he wanted it there. And we launched it on total faith. It took a lot longer to raise the assets than we projected. I had a great proforma. The only difference was the assets didn’t come in as fast as I thought. And as a result of that, we ran out of money four different times. At the 11th hour, every single time, he brought someone into our life who injected more capital; people I had no way of knowing.
Glen Repple, longtime colleague, recalls: When I first heard about this, I read some literature about screening, and what they screened out, and it just really impacted my heart, and I came under conviction. I gave Art a call. I said, “Art, we need to be involved in this. We want to help you with what you’re doing.” And so we really started recommending this to our clients, and to our advisors, and really help our own company. We grew a company based upon Christian principles.
Eclipsing $1 Billion
Art shares, we have now taken $1 billion out of the hands of the world and people of faith have been able to honor their faith with the way they invest their money.
Frank Salerno, Original Investor 1994, shares: It gives us a good feeling within to be investing in those companies that do not have to depend upon some of the facets of life that we don’t believe in.
Bob Miller, longtime ministry colleague, remembers the early days. I knew Art Ally when he started the Timothy Plan, and he was in a very small office that was very cramped. And many, many people told him that he would never succeed at that. But what I saw in him was he was a man of real faith, had his family behind him, and he had good people behind him.
The “A” Team
Art talks about his team— It’s such a pleasure to have rock-solid Bible-believing Christians on board, here. And it’s just been a blessing to us. So our team, I would put up against any team of any fund anywhere.
Culture at our headquarters is … It’s incredible, but I think one of the key elements is we start every single day with a 30-minute period of devotion and bible study. The phones do not turn on until 9:00. From 8:30 to 9:00, we are in a period of bible study and devotion.
Deborah Hart, VP Investor Relations Timothy Plan, appreciates the workplace culture. In a lot of places where people work, you can’t bring a bible to work, you can’t talk about your faith at work. But in this place, that’s what we’re all about.
Zachary Covert, Advisor Relations Timothy Plan, has perspective. I like the people here. I like the fact that I have, at any given moment, four strong, Christian, mentor men I can turn to as I try to mature in my own faith.
Brian Mumbert, VP Advisor Relations Timothy Plan, explains one of the benefits of working at Timothy Plan. Working for a Christian company is such a blessing for me. I come from a retail background; this very, very hard background. Not a lot of Christians in the workplace, so coming here and finding myself surrounded with like-minded people with a mission that I can get behind, that I’m excited about, it makes me happy to come to work every day.
Art — The thing that thrills me most is everybody here, from our Board of Trustees to our money management firms, to our service providers, whether it’s our auditors, our back-office people, fund consult; they know who we are. And they know Art Ally is not the Chairman of the Board of Timothy. Jesus Christ is.
Cheryl says, the Lord is the one who we look to provide for us, and we try to follow what scripture tells us to do. And usually, you can’t go wrong doing that.
Alan — It’s working! We are competitive in the marketplace, and we don’t own any of the stocks that God wouldn’t own. That’s, in and of itself, miraculous.
For the next 25 years…
Stephen believes Art and his vision started something that has taken Wall Street by storm, I believe. And the next 25 years is going to be really neat.
Brian’s tells that less than 1% of the money that is out there is currently invested in this manner. And so the mission field is huge. We have an operation here that is ready to move forward with that and to carry on the vision that the company was started with.
Art challenges the Christian investor. There is a great silent majority there, and we’re trying to reach them and give them away to biblically honor God with the way they invest their money. If we can accomplish that, my vision is accomplished. However much we grow, however much we don’t grow. It’s all his, it’s up to him.
How much money is OK to have invested in abortion or pornography?
The Answer is simple. Not a Penny.
Invested with Purpose is the story of how one man’s vision has led to a revolution: Biblically Responsible Investing.
Available on Amazon.
Published by Nehemiah Project, a ministry dedicated to building Kingdom businesses globally.