Sanford is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. He served 19 years in pastoral appointments in the Austin and Corpus Christi areas. In 1988 he entered the field of financial development with a special interest and background in work with congregations, judicatories and church groups.
Since entering the field of financial development, he has directed capital campaigns and participated in the raising of millions of dollars in commitments to various capital and missional projects as well as millions of dollars in annual and special campaigns with local churches. In tandem with these capital programs and separate from them, he designed comprehensive stewardship programs and annual stewardship campaigns with local church teams for ongoing stewardship enhancement and development of a congregational culture of generosity.
With his background in ministry and financial development, Sanford assumed the position of Executive Director of the New Mexico Conference Methodist Foundation, Inc. on March 1, 2001. He remained in that position for 11 years and transitioned to President in 2012. In addition to the executive management of the Foundation, he continued to work with congregations on diverse stewardship projects for capital construction, facility renovation, endowment development, and debt management.
Sanford earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and his Master of Divinity degree from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and has addressed local chapters of the organization in several states. He has also been a member of the Christian Leadership Alliance, formerly the Christian Stewardship Association, and the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, formerly the National Planned Giving Council.
Sanford’s philosophy of stewardship is based on the Christian heritage of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. He delights in the process of sharing and learning that brings about a new understanding of stewardship, a new spiritual depth, and the new resources that enable churches to fulfill their mission.
Sanford and his wife, Mary Ellen, have two grown children and four grandchildren.