Glide Foundation Countersues United Methodist Church

San Francisco – Glide Foundation countersues Cal-Nevada Annual Conference of United Methodist Church, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño. Glide’s assets held in trust for the People of San Francisco, not United Methodist Church.

Lizzie Glide put her 330 Ellis Street property into a charitable trust in 1929 so it could be used for religious, charitable, and educational purposes for all people of San Francisco, not the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (CNAC) or the United Methodist Church (UMC), according to a countersuit filed today by the Glide Foundation (GLIDE).  Over the past ninety years, GLIDE has been true to Lizzie Glide’s wishes and used the 330 Ellis Street property to operate programs ranging from a Women’s Center to the Daily Free Meals Program (which serves over 750,000 meals annually) to GLIDE’s church.

GLIDE’s suit asks the court to reject meritless claims by the CNAC and its Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño that CNAC and UMC have control over GLIDE and are beneficiaries of the 330 Ellis Street Property and GLIDE’s other assets.  GLIDE’s suit also claims that the Bishop breached fiduciary duties and interfered with its activities as trustee of the 330 Ellis Street Property.  GLIDE seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

“GLIDE exists to help the less fortunate, to give hope, provide unconditional love, spiritual nourishment, and to make San Francisco and the World a better place,” said Mary Glide, a board member and great-great granddaughter of Lizzie Glide. “My great-great grandmother was clear:  she wanted her property used to help and benefit the people of San Francisco. GLIDE’s community services are extensive and vital to the people of San Francisco and fulfill the commitment, purpose and legal parameters of the original trust and assets of Lizzie Glide.”

GLIDE says CNAC and the Bishop’s lawsuit filed in December is baseless because it ignores Lizzie Glide’s wishes, the CNAC-GLIDE relationship over the past ninety years, and the revolutionary changes at GLIDE that started in the 1960s under The Reverend Cecil Williams, which have placed GLIDE at the center of the efforts to reach out and help San Francisco’s most vulnerable. 

“By bringing suit against GLIDE, Carcaño and the CNAC tried to make this case about GLIDE and its conduct, but that is not what this case is really about.  This case is about one California nonprofit organization (the CNAC) trying to seize control over the operations and assets of another nonprofit corporation (GLIDE),” according to GLIDE’s suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court by its attorney Scott T. Nonaka of the law firm Sidley Austin LLP.  GLIDE’s complaint asks the court to protect GLIDE, its services, and its assets from a hostile and unwarranted attempt by CNAC and Bishop Carcaño to seize control of GLIDE operation and assets without a valid claim.

“The future of GLIDE is at stake in this legal battle, but we know we will succeed, not just because we are on the right side of the law, but also because we are on the right side of the facts, too. GLIDE delivers critical services to those most in need in San Francisco and everything we do is grounded in religion, charity, and education just as Lizzie Glide wanted,” GLIDE’s CEO Karen Hanrahan added. “And until Bishop Carcaño took control of CNAC, the UMC held up GLIDE as a model to copy. Now it seems CNAC doesn’t want to copy GLIDE, it wants to take us over,” said Hanrahan.

Since the 1960s, when Cecil Williams, an ordained Methodist minister, and later his wife Janice Mirikitani, first arrived, GLIDE has focused its efforts on reaching out to and helping the marginalized in San Francisco, those without a public voice and who most needed a helping hand. Since then, GLIDE’s 330 Ellis Street facility, in the heart of the City’s tenderloin, has been home to GLIDE’s many programs.

Those efforts and programs have resonated across the city and across the country.  Each year, GLIDE has solicited donations to fund its various programs, including GLIDE’s church, and each year, generous people everywhere have answered the call.  Over the years, the donations designated for GLIDE’s church have been much smaller than donations designated for GLIDE’s other programs.  This imbalance apparently does not sit well with the current leadership of CNAC and is at the root of the current dispute.

“Many know GLIDE as a beacon and refuge for the people of San Francisco. For the city’s fortunate, GLIDE has inspired, prodded, and nudged us to follow our better angels.  For the city’s marginalized, GLIDE has given us a community of unconditional love, hope, and inclusion. To those touched by GLIDE, it’s more than an organization: it’s a source of physical and spiritual nourishment, a place of healing, an advocate and guidance counselor wrapped into one, a place to gather and worship, thousands of volunteers, a social service center and health clinic, and a place to celebrate the spirit. Put differently, to many San Franciscans, GLIDE is our city’s conscience and soul,” GLIDE’s lawsuit states. This dispute with CNAC and Bishop Carcaño is nothing short of a fight to keep the GLIDE we know alive.

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