René Maciel: Baptist Standard & HighGround Advisors

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Texas Baptists are fortunate to have a news vehicle that has the freedom to publish without being swayed by financial support from a state convention as well as a Baptist foundation that serves institutions and churches with stable financial advice.

rene maciel headshot130René MacielThe Baptist Standard has been keeping Texas Baptists up to date about God’s work in the world more than 127 years. Its founders launched the Baptist News in 1888. They intended to unify Baptists across Texas to accomplish far more together than they ever could do as individual churches. Specifically, they sought to rally congregations to support the newly formed Baptist General Convention of Texas. Their strategy worked: The BGCT became the largest state or regional Baptist group. And the Baptist Standard (the name it adopted in 1892) became a leading news source for Baptists in Texas and beyond.

Baptist Standard Publishing—the Standard’s parent company—enjoys a unique legacy that benefits Texas Baptists enormously. It is the only Baptist news organization not subsidized by a state, regional or national convention. While other Baptist state newspapers receive Cooperative Program support to fund one-third to 100 percent of their budgets, Baptist Standard Publishing never has received a budget subsidy from the BGCT. This means the Standard operates under an unprecedented level of freedom. The Standard is free—and responsible—to pursue truth and gather news on behalf of all Texas Baptists. It is not a promotional newsletter or political mouthpiece for any Baptist person or group.

BaptStand 250Over the past several decades, churning change has affected America’s churches and denominations, as well as the newspaper industry. Baptist Standard Publishing ministers at the intersection of both significant institutions, and it has felt the tremors of change from all directions. Guided by a strong, balanced board of directors, the company makes continual adjustments to serve its mission—to inform, inspire and challenge people to live like Jesus. To that end, Baptist Standard Publishing disseminates news and other information through three channels:

• The website,, contains the very latest news, opinion, photography and other information. The staff updates the site every weekday, as well as on weekends if breaking news happens.

• The Baptist Standard arrives in subscribers’ email boxes every Thursday. It contains all the week’s news and opinion in an easy-to-read format that looks like an illustrated table of contents.

• Subscribers also receive CommonCall, a magazine full of human-interest stories and articles about effective ministries, quarterly.

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You may have noticed recently the 86-year-old Baptist Foundation of Texas now is known as HighGround Advisors. The foundation was founded in 1930 to offset the crippling economic disaster that threatened the existence of Texas Baptist universities, schools, children’s homes and hospitals following the stock market crash of 1929. It was a daring endeavor, undertaken by a handful of innovative business people who had faith, foresight and a firm belief in putting the Lord’s business ahead of their own.

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HighGround 325Their vision was to build a Foundation that would play a unique role in enabling Baptist institutions to carry out their missions. The founders knew that by providing endowment management and charitable trust services, Baptist Foundation of Texas could provide invaluable support to its client institutions and thus enhance each institution’s ability to perform its charitable work.

For the past 86 years, the Foundation has consistently and successfully carried out this original mission. Net assets have grown to almost $2 billion with more than 6,000 endowments and 1,100 split-interest accounts currently under administration. Throughout its history, the organization has had a rich heritage of adding capabilities to its scope of services to better support Baptist ministries through the areas of account administration, minerals management and real estate services.

In 1996, a regulated trust company was added to protect the administration of the split-interest accounts. The growth of the trust company over the past 20 years has enabled the Foundation to serve clients beyond the Baptist world as well as provide additional service flexibility to the Foundation’s core mission.

In 2015, the Foundation undertook a brand study to better understand client and market perceptions of the Foundation. As a result of the brand study, the decision was made to rename Baptist Foundation of Texas to operate as HighGround Advisors.

HighGround Advisors is a fitting name that maintains the organization’s faith-based legacy and speaks to what it does for their clients. The HighGround brand takes the foundation to the next level of providing asset management for nonprofit organizations that transform lives.

It represents a commitment to be a resource and help to further the work of charitable organizations that are bettering the lives of those they serve. HighGround is creating a path forward by providing its institutions and prospective institutions with an expanded mix of financial products, services and tools. It promises to continue protecting, strengthening and growing endowment and split-interest assets.

HighGround Advisors’ staff and board of directors aim to continue to be an innovative and vigilant caretaker of the funds and assets entrusted to them by the institutions they serve and by the generous individuals who donate to those institutions. They commit to strive to develop strategies for enriching client and donor relationships, enhancing service offerings and fortifying funds to further causes of the nonprofits they serve.

To visit the HighGround Advisors site, click here.

René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.

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