The Board of CNBCDC has identified four models of fundraising support that the CDC can offer to community service projects operated by churches in the Classis of New Brunswick. These are: 1) finding grant opportunities for each project and assisting the project directors to apply for grants; 2) seeking regional funding, to support Classis-wide projects; 3) serving as a fiscal agent when donors need a 501-c-3 pass-through; 4) making direct grants to Classis churches for their anti-poverty / social justice initiatives.
Examples of each kind of fundraising support came up at the Board’s recent strategic planning session. 1) The first model — that in which the CDC can assist a church’s project to obtain a grant – has two categories, direct and indirect. With a direct grant, the individual church can be the grant applicant, if the funder has no restrictions on donating to churches. A grant from the Synod Foundation to the Reformed Church of Metuchen to enhance its ESL program illustrates a direct grant.
Sometimes the individual church cannot be the grant applicant, because the funder is restricted from donating to churches. In those cases, the CDC as an incorporated nonprofit can apply on behalf of the church’s service project. A grant from a garden equipment manufacturer to the CDC for a community garden located on your church property illustrates the indirect grant, in which the CDC serves as the go-between to obtain funding for your project.
2) At times a funder is looking to donate a considerable amount of money, spread out over several locations, to accomplish a regional good. If a project based at your church can be scaled to go into effect at other churches in the Classis, the CDC can go after this level of funding. An example of a project that may obtain regional funding is the NeighborCorps Navigational Re-entry, introduced to the CDC by seminary student Amos Caley. The project is currently being considered for funding as a pilot project through county government funds. The initiative would use trained teams of volunteers to accompany a person readjusting to the community after coming out of prison.
A compassionate system of services and welcoming care for re-entering citizens and their families is needed in many towns, and goes beyond what one church can do. Basing teams at several churches throughout the Classis is a solution that appeals to the potential funder. A three-member navigation team in each congregation might provide moral support to one or two reentering citizens and their families each year. NeighborCorps is not yet a definite “go” but is one of several exciting ideas that have been put forth to the CDC as services that could have a transformative effect on local lives and congregations.
3) A third way that CNBCDC can facilitate the funding of a community service project based at your church is to serve as a fiscal agent. Perhaps a community group has come to you looking to base their service project in your church building. The group has some potential donors, but has not formed its own 501c3 corporation, so it cannot provide donors with tax deductibility. The CDC as a 501c3 could step in and accept the donation on behalf of the project, so that the donor can take the tax write-off. Sometimes fiscal agents also do the bookkeeping for a project, administering the funds back to the project by paying its bills and wages out of the donated funds. A huge amount of revitalization can take place in a church when it is becomes a host site for a public service; many new people through the doors, both those seeking help and those providing help, and all those people see your faith community in action, become comfortable interacting with you, and may start to get involved in your activities beyond the public service that you offer there.
4) A fourth way that the CDC can deliver funding to your church’s community services or social justice projects is by granting you funding from the CDC! Check back to this website soon for information on a mini-grant opportunity. Any (and only!) churches in the Classis of New Brunswick will be able to apply for this money to support your projects of care and service to the public.