A Short Word on Church Grants

A surprising number of churches – sometimes churches that otherwise have very little money – provide grants to nonprofit organizations. I know this because I write a dozen or so applications for these grants every year. And having filled out a few dozen grant applications, having answered many questions about mission and vision and impact, and having attached all of the required supporting documentation, I had to ask: is this really the best way for churches to be managing their mission budgets? Let me give an example. I recently submitted a grant that, in addition to a few pages of

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Janet Levine: Consistency Beats Brilliance Every Single Time

The more you have clarity about the work you need to be doing, the more work you can actually get done. For with clarity comes what I always think of as the magic bullet of fundraising (and everything else)–consistency. Doing things with regularity and constancy. Brilliance may be something we all desire, but the truth is, a boring plan done with consistency will trump random moments of brilliance every single time. Janet Levine: Consistency Beats Brilliance Every Single Time

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(Re)Defining Poverty

When most of us think about poverty, we probably have a pretty clear idea about what we mean. Poverty means not having enough money. Some of us might think about it a bit more. We might make a distinction between absolute poverty and relative poverty. We might make a distinctions between income poverty, asset poverty, and liquid asset poverty. Some of us might think about poverty in relation to other issues. We might consider poverty and economic rights, poverty and social rights, or poverty and cultural rights. We might understand poverty as a symptom of bigger social and political issues.

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Vu Le: Trickle-Down Community Engagement, Part 2

As I’ve been working in the field, and working specifically with communities of color, I’ve been seeing more and more signs of diverse communities being treated like children who don’t know what’s good for them. I don’t think it is conscious or intentional. But it is still frustrating, like watching the first half of the Seahawks/Panthers game. Vu Le: Trickle-Down Community Engagement, Part 2

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The Case Against Charity

A few years ago, I was given a copy of Robert Lupton’s book Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It). I was surprised at what I read. The core argument of the book is that charity – except in cases of real crisis – is harmful to both donors and recipients. It fosters dependency, erodes work ethic, and creates a sense of entitlement. Instead of giving charity, he argues, we should help people in poverty by creating jobs programs, using asset based community development, providing loans, and helping people participate in systems of reciprocal

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Martin Luther King Jr (From ‘A Speech Delivered at Bishop Charles Mason Temple’ on April 3, 1968)

Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. One day a man came to Jesus; and he wanted to raise some questions about some vital matters in life. At points, he wanted to trick Jesus, and show him that he knew a little more than Jesus knew, and through this, throw him off base. Now that question could have easily ended up in a philosophical and theological debate. But Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember

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Defining Charity

The idea of charity is baked into our culture. We give charitable gifts. We support charitable organizations. We attend charitable events. We celebrate charity in others. We allow people to take tax deductions for their charitable donations. Charity is part of who we are. It’s part of who we imagine ourselves to be. But what is charity? What makes a few dollars stuffed in a birthday card to a grandchild different from a few dollars given to a panhandler when we pass him on the street? What makes a check sent to a food pantry in a poor neighborhood different

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Charity Matters

There are Christian congregations across the country who pride themselves on their charity work. They run food pantries and clothes closets and soup kitchens. They take up collections for Church World Service or Heifer International or Operation Smile. They hose English as a Second Language classes and blood drive. in the appropriate seasons they collect food for community Thanksgiving meals or Christmas presents for low-income children or coats for the homeless. They send volunteers to other organizations. They are the hands and feet and words of Jesus. They are doing the work of the body of Christ. They are doing

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Iran’s Blogfather: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are Killing the Web

I miss when people took time to be exposed to opinions other than their own, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares, and best time to post. That’s the web I remember before jail. That’s the web we have to save. Iran’s Blogfather: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are Killing the Web

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