Royce Reynolds’ Bequest Marks Largest Gift in United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina History
December 2, 2020
By: United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina
The late Royce Reynolds, philanthropist and founder of Crown Automotive, has secured a faithful legacy with a bequest to the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, Inc. It is the largest single gift ever received by the Foundation, which has a mission of building the Church for generations to come.
Royce Reynolds grew up in the 1930s on the family farm in the Flat Creek community near Franklin, TN. Determined “not to lead an average life,” he put himself through Middle Tennessee State College selling Bibles door-to-door. In 1959, he traded Bibles for cars, taking a job with a Birmingham, AL dealership, eventually gaining a partial ownership in the business. In 1973, he set off on his own, purchasing a Pontiac dealership in Greensboro, NC, which he re-opened as Crown Pontiac. Over the next 25 years, he expanded Crown Automotive Group to include ten additional dealerships selling 20 makes of new vehicles, a finance company, and a used car auto mall.
Reynolds, who died in May, and his wife, Jane, shared a lifelong Christian faith with a particular passion for growing Methodist churches. “We have one purpose – to make disciples for Christ,” he often said. This passion led them to create the Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund of the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina in 1998. The fund supports clergy leadership development programs and grants to ministries that demonstrate ability and intention to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Mr. Reynolds’ bequest will be a lasting investment in endowing the Reynolds Ministry Fund for its work.
“The United Methodist Foundation is so grateful to be entrusted with this most generous bequest from the Royce O. Reynolds Trust. It will enable us to carry out ministries Royce helped to create prior to his passing,” shared the Rev. David Snipes, President and Executive Director of the Foundation. “In all the years we’ve known each other and worked together, I do not know of a time when Royce waivered from his passion for making disciples of Jesus Christ. It was his life, professionally and personally, to make sure all people received an invitation to Christian discipleship. We are honored by the faith Royce and Jane have placed in the Foundation as we transform lives. The board of directors, staff and I are committed to making sure his passion continues in perpetuity as we build the Church for generations to come.”
The United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina serves churches, organizations, and individuals across 44 counties from Greensboro to the Tennessee line. Its ministries include investment fund management, gift planning, endowment development, low-interest loans, leadership development, and grants. Learn more at www.umfwnc.org.