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Turning Small Dollars Into Significant Dollars
Spreading Good News, Spring 2013
Charles Fox, Central Area Manager
5/9/2013 -


  "Supporting Baptist causes and charities by using trusts and endowments is a way to turn small dollars into significant dollars."  This quote is from my recent meeting with Bobby and Sylvia Stafford of Greensboro.  Bobby said this while the three of us were enjoying their favorite dessert of peanut butter pie.

  Bobby and Sylvia, now retired, have served NC Baptists in ways we should all envy.  Both are natives of Winston-Salem, having graduated from Glenn High School within one year of each other.  Although not high school sweethearts, they began dating soon thereafter and a marriage resulted.  Bobby trained as a barber and Sylvia worked with a local mortgage banking institution.  After ten years of marriage, Bobby responded to a call to full-time ministry.  He continued his education at Gardner-Webb College (now University) and later at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Sylvia recalls their two young daughters playing with college professors' children since she and Bobby were about the same age as many of the professors.  She also quipped about hearing their youngest daughter comment, "Daddy and I started school at the same time, yet he finished first."

  Bobby's first ministerial position was with Temple Baptist Church in Wilmington.  While on staff there, Sylvia worked as a loan closer for a real estate attorney.  This early experience led her to a career in real estate until her retirement.  Bobby later was called to the Wilmington Baptist Association as Director of Missions where he served until 1986 when he joined the staff of the Baptist State Convention in Cary.  In 2002, Bobby retired and he and Sylvia moved to Greensboro to be near their two daughters and six grandchildren.

  But Bobby and Sylvia were far from retiring from ministry.  Bobby began working as a field development representative with NC Baptist Children's Homes soon after his retirement.  He then was interim pastor of two churches, Magnolia Street in Greensboro and English Road in High Point, and Sylvia was always an integral part of the ministry as she worked with the music ministries of both congregations.   Following his interim pastorates, Bobby served as interim Associational Missionary in the Pilot Mountain and Neuse Associations.  They are now active members of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro where they both sing in two different choirs and Bobby teaches a Sunday School class.  Sylvia was a special minister's spouse: she accompanied Bobby on nearly all of his weekend travels and as often as possible on week days.

  Knowing the value and the need for charitable giving, Bobby and Sylvia have established two charitable remainder trusts, naming the Baptist Children's Homes to benefit Cameron boys Camp and/or Duncan girls Camp as beneficiaries.  They have also included their local church and the NC Baptist Foundation as residual beneficiaries to assist with evangelism endeavors.

  In 2012, Bobby agreed to serve as chairman for the Legacy Giving Project in the Pilot Mountain Association.  Having first-hand knowledge of how charitable giving impacts associations and their churches, this was a natural election for him.  In this role, he will be assisting congregations as they educate members about becoming legacy givers using non- or low-performing assets to benefit generations to follow. 

  Bobby and Sylvia Stafford proved to be exceptional examples of what planned giving is all about.  Because they had been so instrumental and instructive, in early 2013 an anonymous donor couple established a permanent endowment fund in their honor.  This fund will provide much needed financial assistance to one of our associations until our Lord returns.  This gift will enhance the legacy giving of Bobby and Sylvia Stafford.