General Questions about the CCPI
Questions about Gifts to the CCPI
General Questions about the CCPI
Q: What is the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI)?
A: The Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI) is a long-term solution that provides retirement support for dedicated clergy and surviving spouses in central conferences, those conferences outside the United States, who would otherwise have little or nothing. Your charitable gifts will help establish and fund pension programs in the central conferences where support is greatly needed. See About CCPI.
Q: How did the CCPI get started?
A: The United Methodist Church’s General Conference 2000 created a Task Force and charged it to "launch a pension support plan for the central conferences." Four years later, General Conference 2004 reaffirmed the original mandate of the Task Force for the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI); it amended The Book of Discipline to authorize an effort to raise funds necessary to fulfill the original charge. In 2005, the board of directors of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) authorized the creation of a new staff position and, in 2006, the position of managing director for central conference pensions was created and staffed.
The people of The United Methodist Church continue to give generously to this cause. Annual conferences are returning their annual distribution check from the United Methodist Publishing House, and local churches are seeking ways to give. Additionally, many individuals have sent contributions without being asked. To date, more than $24.7 million has been raised. This generosity affirms the desire of the Church to provide pension support for the central conferences.
For more background, see About CCPI.
Q: Why pensions? Why not salary support or health benefits?
A: We are focusing on pensions because of the mandate from the 2000 and 2004 General Conferences. Other initiatives, such as salary support and health care, also are underway to assist central conferences, but pension support, which has a longer term focus and lead time, does not yet exist for many conferences where resources are limited.
Q: What is the relationship between U.S. pensions and the CCPI?
A: U.S. pensions and retirement plans will not be affected by the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI). All CCPI funds are kept separate from U.S. pension funds. The charitable gifts collected by the CCPI are invested and managed by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and are used to provide financial support for retired clergy and surviving spouses in the central conferences, those conferences outside the United States.
Q: What has the CCPI accomplished so far?
A: Since General Conference 2000 first created the Task Force, work on the CCPI has included an initial feasibility study, the formation of the oversight committee, a definition of the initiative, distribution of emergency grants, as well as the implementation and development of pilot projects.
Throughout this process, we have come to understand that each conference outside the U.S. faces unique challenges stemming from the differences inherent in the various countries—different economies, governments, laws and regulations. Even as we continue to work with conferences toward building their own sustainable pension systems, we recognize that there are countries where the need is immediate and critical.
In January 2007, the first pilot program launched in the Liberian Conference, establishing reliable, ongoing distribution of retirement funds to retired clergy and surviving spouses. At the end of 2012, all central conferences seeking pension support through the Central Conference Pension Initiative had met the necessary project start-up criteria, and now have their own pension plans in place and operational—two years ahead of schedule. Plans adopted by each central or annual conference are now in operation throughout Africa, Asia and Europe, covering 2,827 retirees and surviving spouses. In each case, benefit payments have been documented to ensure the appropriate pension funds are received by the intended participant.
Q: What conferences and countries are included?
A: All non-U.S. conferences of The United Methodist Church are included. Generally, this is Europe, Africa, Asia and the Philippines.
The United Methodist central conferences encompass:
Specific countries with conferences in need include:
Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Africa, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Albania, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
- The Philippines
Q: What about Korea and South America?
A: The United Methodist Churches in these areas are not directly connected to our Church structure, so they are not included at this time.
Q: How will the CCPI affect central conference responsibility for funding and administering pensions?
A: Funding of central conference pensions is, and will continue to be, the responsibility of the central conferences, their churches and congregations. The CCPI does not intend to assume this responsibility from the conferences. Rather it intends to help central conferences where the Church is new and where natural disasters, social unrest, or economic instability have hindered pension efforts. The purpose of the CCPI is not to export the U.S. pension plan or its benefit levels. The leaders of the central conferences are most familiar with the needs of their ministers and the economic environment in which they operate; they can best determine their ability to fund benefits long term.
Questions about Gifts to the CCPI
Q: How is the "administrative" work of the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI) funded?
A: The meetings, research, planning, travel and communication work are funded entirely by the agencies participating in the CCPI.
Q: Can I direct my gift to a specific conference, country, church or person?
A: No. Since the CCPI covers a very broad geographical area, and not all regions have been able to share their stories as well as others, we are using all gifts to address the overall need.
Q: What will happen to the funds that I give?
A: All gifts will be held and managed by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The earnings from those invested funds will be used to provide the pension support that is the focus of the CCPI.
Q: If I make a pledge, will you send out a statement, a reminder, or an acknowledgement?
A: Yes, a pledge reminder can be mailed to you according to a schedule of your choice—annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly.
Q: Where do I send my check and how do I make out my check?
Send checks to:
Central Conference Pension Initiative
75 Remittance Drive, Suite 6714
Chicago, IL 60675
Make checks payable to GBPHB and please add "CCPI" on the "memo" line.
Q: Are there other ways to give besides sending a check?
A: Yes, there certainly are. We can accept credit card gifts, as well as gifts of stock or other assets. You may hold appreciated securities that can be transferred to the CCPI and will provide significant tax savings, allowing you to make a substantial charitable gift. You also may transfer real estate to the CCPI as a gift, or use funds from the sale of property to make payments.
Q: Can I transfer funds from my current pension account to the CCPI?
For active clergy: No, IRS regulations prohibit any withdrawals from your current pension account at the General Board, even for charitable purposes. However, you always can set up an automatic monthly transfer from your bank account.
For retired clergy: Only if you still have a UMPIP account at the General Board that is set up for occasional or periodic distributions.
Q: Can you deduct my gift from my monthly pension check?
A: We can set up an automatic deduction from your bank account, and this can be set for any day of the month. The overall impact is the same to you and allows for better and easier identification for your budget and tax purposes.