Kate Gardner’s inheritance has always been more about what she can give than what she has been given. After all, the source of her early inheritance came from a model of investing outwardly. Kate’s father is the founder of an investing advisory service that helps people attain financial freedom and broadly enrich their lives. From an early age, Kate remembers her father’s intentionality in enabling the family’s generosity.
“One of my favorite memories is when my parents, every Sunday in church, would give us money to put in the offering plate,” Kate said. “It always stuck with me that even though it was their money, they were empowering me to participate and feel like we got to give our resources to the Lord.”
A year after graduating from Princeton in 2016, Kate moved to New York City and worked for two different Christian non-profits. Out of obedience, she gave a large chunk of an investment portfolio her family had given her away to a few ministries that she felt a calling toward. But, even after graduating, moving to a big city, and making a substantial impact with her money, Kate did not feel she had fully realized what God had in store for her.
“My dad would remind us that the root word of invest, the Latin word investire, can be translated to ‘put on the clothes of,’ which suggests that you are almost becoming or embodying what you invest in,” Kate shared. She saw herself as wanting to steward holistically by pouring her life into where her resources go.
Supporting Missionaries on a Deeper Level
Her connection with different organizations and her drive to develop relationships would stir the creation of what is now Greenhouse Group: a philanthropy ministry run by Kate where she spreads a significant monthly investment across 60 missionaries in support of their work. Understanding her true passion of encouraging people and the desire to develop her own ministry to come alongside Kingdom builders was sparked by one of her favorite quotes.
“Frederick Buechner is a wonderful Christian author. He proposes that: ‘The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,’” Kate said. “As someone with a lot of options of what to do with my life, that was a really helpful paradigm for me. What started Greenhouse was the conviction that my ‘joy’ is encouragement, and the world’s ‘need’ is the Gospel.”
“The place God calls you to is the place where your
deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner
Many of Kate’s missionaries at Greenhouse Group are friends of friends or were connected to her from organizations that she contacted. Living out her encouraging lifestyle, Kate has been around the world and visited with a good number of the teams she supports over the last two years. Her efforts have taught her the needs of people in countries like Mozambique, France, Japan, and many others. When she is not traveling, her days are often filled with intentional meetings, identifying people’s dreams and praying over God’s calling on their lives and organizations. She has also forayed into helping start-up organizations catalyze group prayer calls as a way to promote a multiplied atmosphere of prayer.
“I think that’s how God wired our brains… what truly gives us a sense of thriving is getting to participate and have purpose in other people’s lives,” Kate said.
A Missionary to Missionaries
Kate’s outlook, rooted in her faith, has led to a gratitude that has moved her to become a missionary to missionaries. Her intentionality meant more than becoming a monthly supporter.
“I get to come in and break people’s boxes in terms of what philanthropy can mean. I want to invest in those serving God not only financially, but perhaps even more importantly through a relationship founded on seeking and enjoying Him together,” she said. Kate opens a two-way street of communication and reciprocal enthusiasm in what the Lord is doing and where her gifts are going. In this way, Kate is fueling her own drive to continue encouraging others. In Matthew 5:16 ESV, Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Where the world is often telling us to hold on to our things, the gospel is telling us to live openly, and Kate exudes this principle of developing eternal hearts around the globe with fervor.
“If you take a step and say, ‘I believe God’s calling me to do this,’ I think it strikes people,” Kate said. It does not become an obligatory gift, it opens a relationship, and it shows intentionality. Kate says that The Signatry’s focus on teaching families to discover and establish their generosity goals is why it was the perfect fit for her.
“I love that The Signatry is helping multi-generational families capture that and then walk out biblical stewardship well. I feel that the team is on the cutting edge of a lot of Kingdom innovation, and this idea of ‘ministry entrepreneurship’ is a huge deal in my story,” Kate said.
Impact of Community
On top of saving the trouble of tracking down giving receipts before transitioning her giving to her new donor advised fund, Kate views The Signatry as a critical tool that allows her to invest more time into her next endeavors back in the United States.
“Just moving my monthly ministry philanthropy on to The Signatry platform has been incredible, it feels sustainable for the long term like never before,” Kate said. “Lesli on the Donor Care team wrote the sweetest and most faith-filled, joy-filled emails to all my teams as we onboarded everyone. I couldn’t speak highly enough of the staff and excellence I’ve seen in the organization.”
Having taken these steps to structure the back end of her giving, Kate is now using her added time to write a book for Next-Gen individuals, or children of successful families who have an external family name, business, or fame as a part of their story and need guidance on how to cultivate their legacies. She also aims to grow as a for-profit investor into Christian-led ventures and use her voice as a speaker to encourage more people to live into kingdom paradigms. Her goal: to spread the mindset of intentionality, sharing God’s design and joy in the journey to become a good, or in her words, “life,” steward.
The intentionality of Kate’s giving can be incorporated into any giving plan. The Signatry provides tools, resources, and community support to help donors wisely steward their funds for Kingdom impact. Learn more about generosity solutions, legacy planning, and starting your own stewardship journey on our website, or contact our Donor Care team at [email protected] to take your next steps.