Our History

Stewardship Partners' founder, Howard "Rusty" Leonard, CFA, first contemplated the idea of a Christian-oriented investment management firm many years ago. Having been blessed with talents in this field, he often desired to use them exclusively for God's glory. His first effort, along with his wife Carol, was to found the Christian ministry Wall Watchers. Wall Watchers, a ministry designed to help Christians be better stewards of their giving, resulted from the Lord calling Rusty via both circumstances and His word (Ezekiel 33:1-6) to use his research skills to shed more light on the activities and financial management of Christian ministries. In doing so they hope to empower donors and to help create a "ministry marketplace", similar to the financial marketplace, so that progress and innovation in the ministry community can be stimulated and rewarded with greater levels of giving. Moreover, it is hoped that ministries will utilize the research produced by Wall Watchers as an aid in improving their operations.

Simultaneously with the conception of Wall Watchers, Rusty approached the management of Templeton Investment Counsel, his employer at the time, about starting a Christian oriented-mutual fund. While some interest in the concept was expressed, it became clear that, to best apply Christian principles to investment management, it would be necessary to do so from within an investment management company whose foundation was built on those same principles. Accordingly, Rusty chose to leave Templeton on January 2, 2000 and begin laying the groundwork for Stewardship Partners. Stewardship Partners was officially incorporated on August 1, 2000 and began managing money from a Christian worldview perspective for clients during the first quarter of 2001.

The Lord began preparing Rusty for his future career early in life. Rusty's interest in the world of investments began while still in high school. By the end of his freshman year in college at the age of 19 (about the same time as he expressed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior), he passed the necessary exams and became a registered representative. During college, where he double majored in Finance and Economics, Rusty obtained a position as a securities analyst intern at a major trust department. Upon graduation, an offer to become a full-time research analyst was forthcoming and accepted. Three years later, Rusty received his CFA designation at the age of 25 becoming one of the youngest people to ever receive the CFA charter. After moving to another trust institution, he was named the Director of Investment Research and served in that capacity until getting an offer to join the prestigious Templeton organization in 1989. A long-time admirer of Sir John Templeton's investment approach, Rusty readily accepted the position of global portfolio manager and analyst. Over the course of the next ten and a half years, Rusty made a significant contribution to the explosive growth of Templeton's institutional business and rose through the ranks to become one of the firm's senior executives and a member of Templeton's Portfolio Management Committee. Along the way, Rusty won numerous bonuses for his stock selection and portfolio management prowess and also was regularly ranked by his Templeton colleagues as one of the firm's best analysts. Evidence of Rusty's importance to Templeton was his 10% share of the bonus pool, a level not exceeded by any of the other 35 portfolio manager/analysts included in the pool. Rusty has also been active in local and national arms of the CFA Institute and has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences.

Rusty is a charter member of Kingdom Advisors, a group established by Ron Blue to train and network the ever-growing Christian professional financial community so that more financial resources will be made available for the Kingdom.

Regulatory Documents

Form ADV Part 2
Stewardship Partners Investment Counsel, Inc. is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as an Investment Adviser. Our Form ADV Part 2 includes details such as the types of services offered by the firm, our operations, fees charged and the types of clients we target.

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