UM Foundation Awards 2015 Ministry Grants
The United Methodist Foundation of Western Pennsylvania recently announced recipients of 2015 ministry grants totaling $45,550. They include 15 local churches, 11 agencies, and one district. These grants will enhance the potential and foster the growth of many people throughout the region.
Ranging from $500 to $4,500, the grants are directed to diverse programs that benefit all ages. Among them are a program that uses creative techniques for increasing worship attendance; cooperative ministries to improve the lot of those living in impoverished or at-risk situations; summertime programs for inner-city children; support for local food pantries and hot-meals for school children, and ministries that provide ramps for disabled individuals to access their homes. See the list of 2015 grants awarded.
"This annual grant program was made possible by a bequest of our former Board Chair Bob Stewart," said the Rev. Ed Bailey, executive director of the Foundation. "Since the program started in 2001, we have made 330 grants totaling over $635,000. And the distribution of these grants has been made entirely from the accumulated earnings of the invested funds of this bequest!
“To be able to make these grant awards is gratifying – but it is even more gratifying to witness the results that recipients are obtaining to enhance and expand their ministries.”
Evidence of the difference the grants have made can been seen in comments from some 2014 recipients.
- Autism Initiative, a ministry of Oakland UMC, has created respite communities that allow families with children on the autism spectrum to combine coveted family time with an opportunity for parental free time in a Christian setting. “For the Autism Initiative to provide respite opportunities for families living with autism, it is essential that we enlarge our pool of trained volunteers as well as empower churches to create and staff ministries directed towards families living with autism. The UM Foundation Ministry Grant makes this possible," said the Rev. Ed Saxman, pastor of Oakland UMC and founder of the Autism Initiative.
- Andrea Erbrecht, Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Grace UMC in Coal Center, said, “We received a 2014 grant to help fund a new ministry we called Family Night in the Park. Three times over the summer we went into local parks and provided food, games, music, and activities for families. Our vision was for the wider community to come together. Thank you for the funds to make these evenings possible!”
- Courtney Kartman, development coordinator at Asbury Heights, a senior care community operated by UM Services for the Aging, that through the support of a grant from the Foundation, the Asbury Heights Positive Approach to Care (PAC) Program continues to flourish. "PAC provides Asbury staff with the necessary skills and caregiving techniques to provide appropriate, competent, and sensitive direct care and support to residents with memory impairments,” she explained.
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