The Story of Ralph and Jackie Mohney
Back row: Ralph, Jackie, son Wes, daughter Ellen, son-in-law Ryan.
Front row: grandsons Maddox, Carter, and Jackson.
Ralph and Jackie Mohney’s story goes back to childhood. They were next-door neighbors as kids in Chattanooga. Eventually, they started dating in high school, got married after college, and have been blessed with two children and three grandchildren.
Their faith goes back to childhood as well. Ralph was raised as the son of a Methodist minister. His family moved quite regularly as his dad was assigned to different churches. He lived in Knoxville, Kingsport, and Athens before his family finally settled in Chattanooga where Ralph’s father served at First-Centenary Methodist Church.
Jackie’s faith also developed during childhood. Her family was active at First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga and she considers Camp Vesper Point to be a key catalyst in her Christian growth. After marriage, they eventually purchased a home on Signal Mountain and became involved at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church.
According to Ralph, “Our acceptance of Christ was only the start of a long (and continuing) process of sanctification. In addition to our parents and churches, the Bible study and fellowship associated with each of our small groups have significantly aided our spiritual growth. Dr. Bill Dudley, our former pastor at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, helped to cultivate and encourage our faith and has served as a great example of Christian discipleship.”
Their faith was especially refined when Jackie was diagnosed with cancer. They were told by doctors that she would likely not survive. The experience drew the Mohneys closer to God and to one another. God spared Jackie and strengthened their faith.
As they look back, they also realize the importance of a trip they took in 1980. The Mohneys traveled to Oberammergau, Germany to attend the Oberammergau Passion Play, a performance that takes place only once every decade. More than four decades later, Ralph still recalls the scene that gripped him. “It was the scene where in the early morning hours after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied Christ three times. After his third denial, Jesus was shown being led in chains across the back of the courtyard. He had been beaten and mocked and was being led to what would be his crucifixion. As Jesus slowly raised his head, his eyes met those of Peter. Christ said nothing. But the look in his eyes spoke a thousand words. They reflected the sadness of one who was giving his life for others only to be denied by one of his closest followers.”
The performance haunted them as they returned home and forced them to consider whether their commitment to Christ was being reflected in their life. At the time, their charitable giving represented less than 10% of their income. “We committed to increasing our giving to a tithe level and have subsequently moved beyond a tithe as an expression of gratitude for what our Lord has done for us.”
Now, they’ve decided to continue giving even beyond their lifetime. The Mohneys have named The Generosity Trust as a beneficiary of their qualified investment accounts. Upon their passing, those assets will be transferred directly into an existing donor-advised fund at The Generosity Trust. Those funds will not be subject to taxation, making more money available for ministry.
They’ve already named their children (Ellen and Wes) as advisors to the Mohney Family Fund who will have the ability to recommend grants. Ralph and Jackie have outlined their desires for how they would like to see the funds distributed but Ellen and Wes will also have discretion in recommending the timing of some of the distributions to be made and the recipients of at least some of the funds.
Ralph and Jackie found the process to be simple thanks to help from the staff at The Generosity Trust. “It has made what could be a complex process very easy and clear.” They recommend other families consider using this same mechanism to continue giving beyond their lifetime.
The Mohney’s story began as next-door neighbors. Thanks to their decision, their impact in Chattanooga will continue to be felt for many years to come. Any family can structure their estate in a similar way using The Generosity Trust. Find out more by scheduling a conversation with Maria Matthews by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or with Jim Barber at email@example.com.