Eighteen years ago, on June 1, 2000, The Signatry officially opened its doors. Before then, we were just a dream.
Two of our founders, Pat Lloyd and Frank Brown, did not know each other, but started searching separately for answers.
In 1998, Frank Brown had tax needs and was looking for a community foundation to which he could donate. He started talking with Larry Burkett’s ministry about finding a solution.
At the same time, Bill High, Emmitt Mitchell and Emmitt’s late brother Thurman Mitchell were running an inner city ministry in Kansas City. One of their main funders, Pat Lloyd, encouraged them to fundraise.
They wanted to be more than fundraisers; they wanted to organize into a structure that would impact their community. As Thurman insisted, “There’s got to be a way to connect the donors with the doers!”
Apparently, God agreed with Thurman, because what took place next was a miracle.
Connecting Donors with Doers
Unbeknownst to each other, both Pat Lloyd and Frank Brown flew from Kansas City to Atlanta to attend two different conferences back-to-back in the exact same building. Frank’s conference was for local Christian foundations, and he was surprised to find his name printed in the brochure as someone about to start a foundation in Kansas City. However, what he thought was a comical error turned out to have profound implications. Pat Lloyd randomly picked up the brochure a week later at a separate conference and saw “Kansas City” printed as a potential spot for a foundation.
She flew back home to Kansas City and gave the brochure to Bill High. Bill recognized Frank Brown’s name and gave Frank a call.
Ever since the conference, Frank Brown and two business associates who had also attended the conference had been praying about what to do. “We didn’t even know what to pray other than to ask, ‘Lord, what are you doing?’” Frank recalls. “When Bill called, we thought that perhaps this was it.”
The business group met with the ministry group, and eventually they decided that God was leading them to start a Christian foundation in Kansas City.
The Foundation Is Born
The Signatry officially opened June 1, 2000, then called “The Christian Community Foundation of Kansas City.” The group formed a board and decided that Bill High should be president. At that time, the foundation was nothing more than a cell phone and a legal pad. Eighteen years later, they have sent over $2 billion in grants across the nation.
“I thought if we could get to $10 million, that would be good,” Frank Brown says. Now, $2 billion later, The Signatry continues to impact ministries around the world.
Over the years, their growth has brought new opportunities. They bought their first building in 2004. In 2011 they took on National Christian Foundation’s name and became known as an NCF affiliate. In 2017 they moved from Olathe to Overland Park, and in 2018, they became an independent Christian foundation and renamed themselves “The Signatry.”
The Signatry is inspired daily by our donor and ministry partners. Ministries continually send thank-you notes, sharing how donors are making a difference across the world. As one ministry wrote, “Your heartfelt delight in the Lord’s work through the foundation is very evident. Thank you for all you do for our community.”
Our donors inspire us too. Each day, as we watch them give thousands of dollars to the Kingdom, we know we are watching an unprecedented movement of generosity unfold. Each gift represents a heart saying “yes” to God. Donors give their resources to carry out the passions God has given them. We watch their hearts, we read their letters, and we are inspired.
Thank you for joining us in changing the world.