On February 27, 1975, Church of the Pioneers Foundation sprang into being, and the story of its growth since then represents a strong witness to the power of Christian service and giving.
COPF started out as merely a dream of a small committee of other church members who wanted to support the long-term needs of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church through a separate charitable corporation. Howard J. White Jr. was president from 1975 to 1985, and then for the next fourteen years, attorney Robin Faisant led the organization. Mary Goerz served as president for the next 5 years, until she handed the reigns to current president, Larry Langdon in 2004.
By 1979, the foundation had become trustee of its first charitable trust, and after that it started to blossom. In 1984, a donor familyworked through COPF to establish the Graduate Preaching Fellowship endowment fund, which provides grants for a year of pastoral experience abroad to graduating seminary students. This fund was inspired by the late former MPPC pastor Rev. Cary N. Weisiger III, whose own ministry was shaped by time he spent in India following his seminary graduation.
In January 1990, the first issue of Opportunities magazine was published by COPF, and during that decade the number of charitable trusts grew significantly. In the late 1990's COPF provided grants to both the Mount Hermon Association and Fuller Seminary to support their capital campaigns.
Thanks to the generosity of many donors, COPF now owns four buildings in Menlo Park, including the buildings used by Children's Ministries and Student Ministries. COPF also owns nine residences serving as the homes of pastors, and four apartments used by the staff of other Christian Organizations.
Looking to the future, there are significant opportunities related to COPF's mission of supporting Christ-centered organizations. As long-time board member, John Jenks says, "I don't think any of us, 35 years ago when COPF was founded, had a clear understanding as to what it would turn out to be. But the commitment that we have, and that I responded to, is that we wanted to be faithful to what God has called us into existence to be."