MidAm 2013 site header - CL

Chalice Lighters smWe are pleased to announce two recipients for our Spring Call. The committee for the Regional Chalice Lighter program met via conference call to consider the two applications that were received. The committee is comprised of representatives from all three of the former districts. The committee is issuing this call to all who are signed up to be Chalice Lighters across the region. Any monies raised beyond the parameters of the funded projects will be added to a fund that supports new church starts in our Region.

UUCGLansingThe Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, Michigan, which is in the midst of construction of a new space, will be awarded funds to support a hearing-loop system for their primary conference / meeting space. Increasing the accessibility of this space to the hearing challenged would help the church fulfill its mission of being a welcoming and fully accessible community; some participants in the Sunday Morning Forum have stopped attending because of the difficulty of hearing in that room. The church is undergoing renovation, funded by the congregation, and the grant will enable the system to be installed more economically while construction is still underway.

FirstU OmahaFirst Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebraska will be awarded $1,000 to support preliminary investigation of a potential diverse, new Unitarian presence in Omaha, in collaboration with Second Unitarian and local facilitators.

  • Since there will likely be funds leftover from the Spring Call, additional donations will go into the New and Emerging Congregation Fund. This is a reserve fund that is used to support new or emerging congregations with funds for acquiring space, hiring staff or for outreach and publicity.

For this Spring 2016 Call, please donate by June 15, 2016

Sign up here to become a Chalice Lighter, switch to email communication, or change your donation frequency (annual or three times a year).

General Information
Categories to Be Funded
Overall Expectations
Evaluation Guidelines
Helpful Hints
Application Form

(revised 11/2015)

The MidAmerica Region, UUA Growth and Support Committee is seeking applications for a Chalice Lighter Grant. A Chalice Lighter Grant can be used to start a new congregation, acquire a meeting space, secure a minister, religious educator, or other professional staff, or provide for an outreach or public relations program.  Any congregation may apply.

NOTE: Once you start filling out the application form below, you cannot save it and come back and edit it again.  Once you start you have to finish.  So be sure to print out the Application Checklist below and gather all the information electronically before you begin.

There are 3 cycles of grant giving.  Depending on which cycle you are applying in, the application is due in the MidAmerica Region office no later than:
            August 15   November 15   February 15

All applications must be submitted electronically only using the form below.

Please read these guidelines in their entirety before filling out the application form.

Chalice Lighter Grants




Donations by Chalice Lighters can be used for four (4) purposes:

  • Supporting a new or emerging congregation.
  • Acquiring or expanding meeting space for an existing congregation.
  • Increase paid professional staffing.
  • Establishing outreach and public relations programs.


The primary intent of the Chalice Lighters Program is funding for well-thought-out growth efforts connected to the larger vision of Unitarian Universalism.

  • Congregations may be awarded a CL grant more than once; however, preference will be given to congregations who have not previously received a Chalice Lighter grant.
  • A congregation may submit only one proposal for each call.
  • Shared stewardship within the whole congregation, such as a challenge matching pledge or increase in volunteers will be viewed favorably. 
  • Preference will be given to those congregations which have contributed their fair share to the Annual Program Fund (APF) and regional dues, or can demonstrate a plan for getting to Fair Share, and/or have given financial support to a new church start. 
  • Preference will be given to congregations with active and growing Chalice Lighter programs.  We suggest a minimum goal of 20% of members active in the Chalice Lighter Program.
  • Churches receiving Chalice Lighter Grants are expected to participate in the life of the MidAmerica Region, UUA, including regional growth, membership and leadership development workshops.
  • Interim and 6 and 12-month reports will be required on the expenditure of Chalice Lighter Funds.




Each Chalice Lighter grant application will be evaluated based on the following criteria.


  • The project reflects UU values and the congregation's mission and vision.  (Please include your congregation's mission and vision statements.)
  • The project supports congregational growth and/or Unitarian Universalism.
  • The project has broad congregational support and is integrated into the long-range plan.
  • The budget and pledging reflect strong stewardship values, e.g. pattern of increased giving, fair compensation for staff).


  • All components of the application are complete & concise, and required & relevant documentation is attached.
  • The goals of the project are clearly defined and achievable, and there is a plan for tracking success.
  • The plan includes a means of reporting; project results should be reported to MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighter Committee through the regional office at six months and twelve months.

Supporting Information

  • The grant is for a specific project and not general budget relief.
  • The congregation is working toward Fair Share and a high percentage of Chalice Lighters.
  • The application includes the following fiscal information:
  • Current year's budget including previous year's annual fiscal report
  • Budget projections for next 2-3 years that show project sustainability

The application provides:

  • The name of the current Chalice Lighter Ambassador and the number of Chalice Lighters;
  • Information on Fair Share status on a) Annual Program Fund (APF) to the UUA and b) MidAmerica Region congregational contribution.

Connections to the Greater Community

  • Special consideration will be given to projects that promote inclusiveness, environmental issues, social justice, and accessibility.
  • Special consideration will be given to projects that demonstrate learnings that can be shared with other congregations.
  • Preference will be given to congregations that have not received a CL grant in the past three years.
  • Evidence of how PR effort(s) will be integrated with overall strategic planning is encouraged.


  • A New Congregation (A Congregation that has been affiliated with the UUA for less than 5 years):
  • New congregations should have the endorsement of a nearby Unitarian Universalist congregation. The group should furnish with its request for funds:
    • A feasibility study
    • Financial projection

Special Notes for Emerging and New Congregations:

  • An Emerging Congregation is defined as a congregation that is beginning and has not yet formally affiliated with the UUA. 
  • New Congregations are congregations recently affiliated with the UUA, within the past 5 years.
  • Both emerging and new congregations can apply for separate earmarked CL funds.  These funds use the same categories as explained below.  Personal contact with a MidAmerica Region staff person is recommended. Please be in contact with the MidAmerica Region if this is your situation.



“Supporting a new or emerging congregation”

See definitions above in C.  Use the following guidelines as they are useful to you. If your project does not seem to fit, please call MidAmerica Region staff.  Your situation may well not easily fit in these guidelines, but would be very appropriate for a young congregation.

“Acquiring a Meeting Space”

  • A proper, permanent location is a vital step in strengthening a congregation.
  • Preference will be given to congregations without a meeting space. Funding may be applied for:
  • Purchase of a building;
    • Deposit for acquiring long term space – lease, rental or special arrangements;
    • Construction of a new building, or remodeling of a currently owned building.
    • Purchase of a land for future construction.
  • Financial projection for the next five (5) years should be included with the application showing how the estimated funds from Chalice Lighters will be used.


“Increasing paid professional staff: Minister, Religious Educator, or other Staff”

  • Professional leadership is the single most influential factor on the growth and well being of a congregation.
  • The congregation should be following the UUA guidelines for settling a minister. If the minister, or other religious professional, is to be shared with another congregation, both should make the request for funds. Five (5) year financial projections, including the compensation package should be included with the application.


“Outreach and Public Relations Programs”

  • Outreach and Public Relations programs may constitute a number of clearly defined projects from one or more congregations.  Please include an explanation of your plans and choice of methodology.  Please include clearly defined goals and measures of accountability.



Open this PDF and print out as a checklist to gather your information.  You won't be able to save and then go back and edit your application once you've started.  Note, this document contains important information about information required, so please don't fail to print it out and read it and follow its instructions.

pdf Chalice Lighter Grant Application Checklist (74 KB)

Chalice Lighter Grant Application form - If you find you need assistance filling out this form, please contact the MidAmerica Office at 312-636-9724 or [email protected].

Chalice Lighter Grant Application


Donations by Chalice Lighters can be used for four (4) purposes:

  • Supporting a new or emerging congregation.
  • Acquiring or expanding meeting space for an existing congregation.
  • Increase paid professional staffing.
  • Establishing outreach and public relations programs.
Please tell us how big is your company.

Other Congregation
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Congregation Street address*
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Congregation Zipcode*
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Contact First Name*
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Contact Last Name*
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Person to be contacted with questions and to announce the Committee's decision on your application.

Contact E-mail*
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Funding $ Requested*
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Purpose of Grant*
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Size of Congregation: current year*
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Size of Congregation: last year*
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Size of Congregation: 5 years ago*
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Number of Members last certified with UUA*
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Religious Education enrollment (n-12 grade)*
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Average Attendance at Weekly Services: current year*
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Average Attendance at Weekly Services: last year*
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Average Attendance at Weekly services: 5 years ago*
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Number of Active Chalice Lighters*
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Name and contact info for your Chalice Lighter Ambassador
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Are you Fair Share to both the MidAmerica Region and to the UUA APF?*
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Board Endorsement Documentation attached*
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Board Endorsement*
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List of Persons Responsible attached*
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Persons Responsible for Project*
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Project Description attached*
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Full Description of Project*
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Project Budget attached*
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Budget for the project*
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Congregation Budget attached*
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Congregation Budget: previous yr, current, projections for 3-5 years*
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Other Documentation for Consideration
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