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Taking a Leap of Faith into the Financial Frontier

Faith is a funny thing.

It calls us out to do things that would never have occurred to us if left to our own devices. It comes in strange, unsettled feelings - or in absolute, bone deep convictions. It asks us to make a move, unsure of what's going to happen. And often, it leads to incredible adventures we'd never have imagined for ourselves.

That's the path Steve Caton traveled as he served with the Church Community Builder leadership team, a role he'd been in for the past eight years. He'd come to Church Community Builder because of its commitment to helping church leaders steward people for the sake of deeper community and discipleship. It was a deeply personal commitment for Steve, as he'd come to Christ as an adult and been discipled in a church that was incredibly skilled at connecting people so that they could more easily see God's path for their lives. But as great as that work was, something was stirring.

"It started as a general sense of restlessness several months ago," Steve said. "Part of it was having a milestone birthday, and part of it was thinking through 'So, what comes next? Am I going to finish my career here at Church Community Builder? What does that look like?'. And I started thinking about why I was asking those questions, and what was behind it."

"I'd always been interested in that, as my career journey has taken me through various positions that were all centered around using technology to release assets for the Kingdom - either people or financial or some other resource that God wanted to use," Steve said. "That journey wasn't clear to me at the time, but it got clearer as I looked back at it."

Those conversations led to Fulcrum asking Steve to build a team and lead The Giving Crowd, a new solution to help churches and non-profits better offer planned giving opportunities for donors.

"My first reaction to Greg was, 'Wait - what?'," Steve said. "But the more I thought about his request, the more I realized that it was still in the space that I love - releasing assets for the Kingdom - and it's about technology and coaching, which I've been doing at CCB and I'm comfortable in. And it's very collaborative with Church Community Builder, not competitive, so that felt good. And the fourth thing was the common thread I'd recognized in my career, which centered on the principle of caring for and serving people first. In my experience, when organizations steward their people well, financial health is a consistent outcome. That's where I've always gotten super passionate when talking about church issues, and how much room for improvement there is when it comes to developing comprehensive funding strategies. I've always wanted to be a part of that."

Now he will be, as Steve helps The Giving Crowd launch a unique approach to blending technology, coaching and curriculum to help non-profits and churches take advantage of a massive funding opportunity.

Fulcrum Philanthropy Systems began in 2010 as a software and consulting organization around the idea that churches and non-profits had traditionally been overlooked when it came to planned giving and estate planning solutions. Greg and his co-founder, Richard Blackmon, founded Fulcrum to help resource the Kingdom in new ways. One of their early ideas was to provide a technology that served donors by helping them explore ways to complete their estate plan and avoid taxes. That was the genesis of The Giving Crowd.

"We knew all along that we needed someone to lead our whole technology platform and outreach into the Christian community, and Steve was an answer to our prayers. The Fulcrum leadership team wanted someone to help take their software offerings into new markets and inject a new energy into their efforts. The Giving Crowd has the potential of changing the way church and non-profit leaders are funding Kingdom ministries.

"Our consulting business has grown to the point where Greg and I couldn't focus on what we truly believe is a solution that could be really disruptive when it comes to stewardship and giving in America," Richard said. "We knew that if we helped donors engage in life stewardship, rather than just momentary stewardship, we'd help people find ways to resource the Kingdom long after they've left this life behind. We'd been talking about the need to focus more on this area for a couple of years but we wanted to be sure we found someone who shared our thoughts and our passions. We found that in Steve, and I know we're on the right track to really help more donors and organizations see tremendous growth."

Steve has transitioned off the Church Community Builder team and joined the Fulcrum team in April. His initial focus will be on helping churches and non-profits take advantage of the new resources that may be available to them through major gifts and estate planning. "We've got a huge opportunity to re-frame the conversation around giving and planning and stewardship, and that's what I'll be focusing on initially," Steve said. "I really want to help churches and non-profits understand what's possible when it comes to legacy giving and generosity strategy."

To connect with Steve, email or follow him on Twitter. To learn more about The Giving Crowd, Email Us