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Foundation approves new board members

Foundation approves new board members

Florida United Methodist Foundation logoLAKELAND – The Florida United Methodist Foundation welcomed three new board members last week during its yearly meeting that took place during Annual Conference 2014.

Dennis Vlassis, foundation board chairperson and a member of Trinity UMC, Palm Beach Gardens, also updated conference attendees on development of a new foundation logo and website and the receipt of grant funding for the new Young Clergy Initiative program. He introduced Rev. Wee-Li Tan, the foundation’s president, who will help develop and teach debt-reduction seminars and other finance-related leadership programs funded by the grant. 

Dennis Vlassis delivers foundation report to Annual Conference 2014
Dennis Vlassis, Florida United Methodist Foundation board chairperson, reports on a new website, logo and other developments, part of a presentation at Annual Conference 2014. Photo by Steve Wilkinson.

Approved to serve on the foundation’s volunteer board were Gustavo Betancourt, an ordained elder who serves as property and project manager of the South East District; Daniel Hager, chairman and chief executive officer of First American Holding Corp. and CEO of First America Bank; and Bob Showalter, chairman of Showalter Flying Service, a fixed base operator at Orlando Executive Airport.

“In the 48 years the foundation has served the annual conference, we have been blessed with outstanding and often visionary leadership,” Vlassis said.

“Our board of directors is elected by the annual conference and is representative of the cultural and geographical make-up of the conference. It is strictly a volunteer board, and we are grateful for the hours they (board members) devote to serving the ministries of the foundation.”

Betancourt, who attends Peace UMC, Miami, is chairperson of the Florida Conference Hispanic Ministry Team and has worked as director of the Inner Cities Ministries project. He is a licensed general contractor who assists the South East District’s New Church Development committee in finding sites for new and existing ministries. 

Gustavo Betancourt headshot Bob Showalter headshot
Gustavo Betancourt Bob Showalter Daniel Hager

Hager is a member and board of trustees chairperson at Trinity UMC, Bradenton, where he has also served as lay leader. His community involvement includes membership in the Florida Banking Association and the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce.

Showalter and his family are active at Asbury UMC, Maitland. Bob and Kim Showalter served as lay co-chairpersons of the Florida Conference “Together! Campaign for Kids and Camps,” which raised money to refurbish Barnett Lodge at Warren Willis Camp near Leesburg.

Vlassis described the foundation’s new logo as a “spirit leaf.”

“The spirit leaf pays tribute to The United Methodist Church’s cross and flame logo, borrowing the recognizable flame as a symbol of the Holy Spirit,” Vlassis said. “The addition of the leaf speaks to the growth and new life of our organization and to our brand promise to empower churches and ministries to thrive.”

He told Annual Conference attendees that the new logo and website design incorporate tradition with willingness to grow and change. He said the foundation remains dedicated to helping its ministry partners “put faithful stewardship in action.”

“Everything we do begins and ends with faithful stewardship,” Vlassis said.

-- Susan Green is the managing editor of Florida Conference Connection.