What's in a name?

January 3, 2019 - As an organization, we strive to provide our clients with a solid foundation on higher ground every day. We also strive to be on higher ground from an organizational standpoint. The journey to change our name could easily be compared to that of avid outdoor enthusiasts as they prepare for climbing a mountain. From gathering our information about the journey, to our intention of establishing an organizational name change, we were thoughtful, diligent and deliberate about this process.

Preparing for the Ascent

By 2014, it was evident that the long-standing structure of our organization needed to adapt to continue serving clients and their asset allocation needs. Our clients were growing more sophisticated – many of them needing flexibility and customization to adapt to their tailored investment policy. Always keeping our clients top-of-mind, we began to make adjustments to benefit them and their investment needs.

“We had to adapt to the new nonprofit and fiscal landscapes to stay relevant and effective,” President Jeff Smith said.

We developed a new mix of financial products, services and tools to allow our clients a broader ability to customize a high-quality portfolio to meet their long-term objectives. We also defined our value propositions for clients and began creating a new look and feel for the company that embraced all these changes. Ultimately, the research revealed that a new name would give our organization a new advantage in the competitive world of investment management for nonprofits.

On a fundamental level, the organization was not a foundation. That is, it didn’t issue grants – although it did, and still does, make income distributions quarterly and provide other funding pursuant to the gift plans we administer. Secondly, an 85-year tenure in the investment field yielded clients of a wide variety – they were no longer exclusively Baptist-affiliated, and some of them were beyond the borders of the Lone Star state.

Setting up Base Camp

The path forward was clear – to better serve our clientele and truly provide a representation of our services with few words, changes were in order. We began by defining our core values, brand standards and establishing refocus teams. It was determined that our name and our brand needed to represent our vision, affiliation, purpose and personality.

Our vision is defined as the highest calling to protect, strengthen and grow the organizations of our clients. Our affiliation is a team that stands together in solidarity for those transforming lives. Our purpose is what we set out to do every day and our personality houses characteristics that further the bond we have with our clients.  

As an organization, we enlisted the assistance of two creative groups to use our vision and brand standards to create a name for the organization that would acknowledge our Christian heritage, but also launch us into the future in an exciting and purposeful way. After more than 6,000 names and an exhaustive process, it was finally narrowed down to two main contenders.

Only one name could move us forward. HighGround Advisors.

Beginning the Ascent

HighGround denotes all three dimensions of our vision – Protect. Strengthen. Grow. We undergird client services with our own, providing a solid foundation for all they do. It defines our personality: insightful, caring and flexible. We are always seeking to climb still higher through greater insights, so we can care more effectively and with greater flexibility. It signifies a place where clients can build a foundation upon higher ground – a greater vantage point. Ultimately, the name HighGround achieves the duty of fulfilling our brand promise to clients while honoring our past.

From a strategic, and worldly perspective, we seek higher ground to protect ourselves from enemies and storms, to strengthen ourselves for the future and to grow more effectively. In the ancient world, cities such as Jerusalem were always built on the highest point for that reason. From a Biblical perspective, higher ground is present from the beginning – starting in the book of Genesis. HighGround captures our Christ-centered promise, denoting our commitment to work for and with the One who stands at the highest ground of the universe and calls us to higher ground with Him.

“We believe the name HighGround Advisors shows we are being true to our beliefs while adding a touch of sophistication that exemplifies our white-glove service,” Smith said. “The new name was carefully chosen, and every part of the new logo was thoughtfully designed and refined.”

Our clients were enthusiastic about the name, too.

“HighGround speaks to nearly everyone of different backgrounds and persuasions, and has both secular and spiritual implications, all of a positive nature,” said Mark Lovvorn, HighGround Trust Company Director.

Reaching the Apex

Keeping in mind that our brand – our name – is a “promise,” we want to ensure that promise is authentic, strong, enduring and relevant. Since changing our name to HighGround, we’ve made some huge strides in fulfilling this promise.

We moved offices. Our new space has provided a fresh start to an 88-year-old organization – a space that we are proud to come to every day. And not only has the new office provided a positive and productive internal working culture, it has also created more opportunity to host client activities.

We acquired new talent. David Slover, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, was brought on to focus on client solutions. Jim Nadalini was also hired to serve as the Chief Technology and Compliance Officer to ensure our commitment to technology remains steadfast.

We put our values down on paper. Our core values are the heart of HighGround. These values embrace our Christian heritage and guide us as we work with organizations, like you, who are transforming lives. We put you first. We are Servant Hearted. We act with Integrity. We promote Innovation. We are Visionary. We lead with Professional Excellence. These core values guide our thought process as we continually evaluate service offerings to better serve you.

We developed a flexible investment service model. Our new service levels include fully outsourced, multi-asset class investment solutions. These customized investment solutions can be designed to meet your unique objectives or preferences. Additionally, direct investments into HighGround's proprietary asset class funds are now available. These funds include passive index options, actively managed solutions and alternative investments (private equity, real estate, energy and marketable alternatives). Furthermore, HighGround can incorporate your third-party mutual funds into a client-specific strategy.

Most importantly, we have stayed committed to our mission of encouraging, receiving & managing charitable gifts.

Just as our clients are evolving – always striving to find new ways to fulfill their mission – so are we. HighGround will continue to evolve and seek ways to better serve you. Our product offerings will continue to grow and our service lines will always strive to maximize the growth of your assets. Our work will never truly be finished – the aspiration of reaching the apex will always be our end goal.