The idea for Kingdom Investment Foundation (KIF) began when Becky Nissen read a book on biblical generosity five times during an international flight. “It was so convicting. Even though I had been a Christian for a while, I found I didn’t really understand generosity nor was I participating in the way I felt God leading me to,” Becky recalls. Once she returned home, Becky and her husband made changes to how their family gave and she began praying about what else God had in store.
A few months later, Becky gathered three women that God put on her heart and they began planning. What emerged was a vision to combine the resources of like-minded women to make a greater difference in the world, while inspiring them to lead generous lives with their families. The vision became a reality as the women developed KIF, a giving circle built on the foundation of a donor advised fund (DAF) at The Signatry.
In 2020, KIF is now celebrating 14 years as a giving circle and $500,000 in grants from more than 100 unique givers. Together, they have supported 37 ministries on five different continents. The impact KIF members have made together as a giving circle is much greater than what they could have accomplished individually. “It is so great to be involved in the Lord’s work in ways I couldn’t imagine apart from KIF,” says Karen Bowyer, KIF’s current president.
Everyone Has a Voice
So how does KIF’s giving circle work? Women can become members of the giving circle by contributing to the annual total that is distributed to ministries at the end of each year. Every fall, a rotating committee of members reviews grant requests. For a ministry to be considered, they must share the gospel and lead people to Christ. The committee researches each ministry and their projects, then presents and reviews their findings. Each member of the committee ranks the ministries, and those with the highest scores move forward to be considered by every member of KIF on their annual Vote Night.
On Vote Night, every KIF member gathers to hear about the ministries seeking funding and vote for the organizations they want to support. Each member casts either 5 votes (if they contributed $500 to the annual total) or 10 votes (if they contributed $1,000). Members who can give more than $1,000 are encouraged to, but everyone is capped at ten votes per person. KIF also offers a “scholarship” program for older women to pay for the membership dues of younger women, so they can participate even if they do not have the means. Members are able to distribute their votes among the ministries as they choose. They can allocate all their votes to one ministry, or divide them up among two, three or all of them.
KIF generally funds four to five ministries per year depending on how much they have raised, and ministries can only be funded for two consecutive years. Funding is ultimately awarded to ministries based on the percentage of votes received, and the money is typically dispersed within a week so the ministries can get started as soon as possible.
These ministries are then invited to report back to the members of KIF on their annual Celebration Night in the spring of the following year to share all of the ways they were blessed through the giving circle’s gifts. Through that, KIF members are also blessed. They experience joy together and get to be part of expanding God’s Kingdom and caring for His people. This celebration has often been transformational and has led to KIF’s growth, as women go on to share about their experience with other women.
“We are not just changing [these ministries], they are also changing us. And I love that”, says Becky.
As an additional accountability step, KIF requires that all grant recipients submit a formal mid-year evaluation of their project by the end of the summer in the year following KIF’s grant. This allows KIF’s members to stay informed on the progress made and ensures that granted funds have been used as intended.
Making an Impact
KIF has impacted water wells, orphanages, medical supplies and counseling services, prison ministries, anti-trafficking organizations, and more. For the women of KIF, it is a joy to be able to support these transformational ministries, and they are dedicated to seeing and experiencing their impact firsthand. Some members have visited prisons and returned with eyes opened and hearts broken from meeting incarcerated mothers who have heard the gospel and changed their lives. Other members have visited ministries in Thailand to experience their work saving women from sex trafficking. With every experience, the members of KIF thank God for transforming their hearts through partnership with these important ministries.
Efficient Giving with a Donor Advised Fund
The Signatry partners with KIF to make their giving simple and efficient. “Without an organization like The Signatry, I don’t think we would be where we are,” Becky says. Through the power of a donor advised fund, KIF members are not burdened with paperwork or accounting in order to give, allowing them to focus on what matters—making an impact.
Just like their relationships with ministries, trust is an important part of KIF’s partnership with The Signatry. As a Christian organization, The Signatry offers support and accountability to KIF with an extra level of vetting, even after members have approved grant requests. This gives KIF peace of mind about the organizations they select and support. “The Signatry has really nurtured KIF over the years,” Becky says. “They are a real partner for us.” Selecting the right partners and ministries has allowed KIF to grow confidently and transform lives.
The beauty of generosity is there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is the humble, united efforts individually and collectively that create Kingdom impact. What story is God writing with your generosity? What are your next steps to continue to grow in this lifestyle?