During nine years at BCCF, Christ worked to considerably improve the organization’s financial standing. Assets increased from $13 million to over $55 million, and the number of donors doubled. Christ initiated a charitable gift annuity program to enhance the sustainability of the foundation. Christ deeply valued and strove to add diversity to the board, staff, and volunteers of the organization. Christ believed that collaboration between foundations and grantmakers was key to empowering individuals and communities in creating change that is impactful and lasting.
Christ was integral to efforts developing a common computer software accounting system that would meet the needs of all community foundations in Michigan. Until that time, Michigan foundations used a variety of systems, which created a range of problems and inconsistencies. CMF facilitated meetings of community foundations to discuss the development of a common system. After extensive meetings, a collective approached the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with a proposal.
The collective worked with the Kellogg Foundation’s Program Director for Philanthropy and Volunteerism Joel J. Orosz, to develop a system called the Foundation Information Management System (FIMS), which was fully-integrated and created especially for community foundations. NPO Solutions, Inc., the company that developed FIMS, was very small at the time and computerization of community foundation processes was limited. The Michigan contract helped grow the company into a national vendor, while affording Michigan community foundations the opportunity to shape the development of the software to meet their common needs. Given the differences in size and complexity of Michigan’s community foundations, two related systems were developed; FIMS for mature foundations, and FIMS-light for newer foundations. FIMS is still used by most community foundations in the country. In 2001, NPO Solutions, Inc. was acquired by MicroEdge, LLC.
Christ met regularly with a small group of peers at CMF to discuss new initiatives and to provide leadership for the development of the community foundation field in Michigan.
The list of organizations where Christ served as a board member, chairman, volunteer, or consultant over the last 50 years is staggering. Christ contributed greatly to a significant number and wide variety of philanthropic organizations focused on education, health, and community development in Battle Creek and the southern Michigan area. Christ was affiliated with the Rotary Club of Battle Creek, Battle Creek Area Educators’ Task Force, NorthPointe Woods, First Presbyterian Church, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.