Dear MidAmerica Chalice Lighter,
First of all, let me say, “Thank You!” Because of people like you, the Chalice Lighter program in MidAmerica has been able to award grants to dozens of congregations throughout the region over the last five years. From Oxford, Ohio, to Omaha, Nebraska, and from Ashland, Wisconsin, to Wichita, Kansas, your generous contributions have helped congregations build new buildings and improve existing ones; hire new ministers, religious educators, and other professional staff; and promote Unitarian Universalist values through outreach and social justice projects.
As you know, these grants are funded by donations from people like you across the MidAmerica Region of the UUA. Pooled together, your contributions have allowed us to award grants averaging $6000 to $7000. But because of the way grants have been allocated—with up to three grants awarded each Fall, Winter, and Spring Chalice Lighter Call—the ability to give larger amounts to congregations with bigger projects has been limited. That’s why we’re making some changes to the Chalice Lighter program starting next year.
Beginning with the Fall 2019 Chalice Lighter Call, we will be awarding only one large grant each call to a single congregation in the region. Our hope is that by giving bigger grants, congregations will dare to take on bigger projects, projects that could use a boost from Chalice Lighters in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. But what about congregations that don’t need a large grant? That’s where another change is coming. To make sure that there will still be plenty of opportunities for congregations to get grants under $10,000, the Chalice Lighter program is going to start supporting Faithify campaigns beginning in September 2019.
Faithify is an online crowd-funding platform for Unitarian Universalism that has, since 2014, raised over 1.3 million dollars for nearly 350 campaigns, including many campaigns from congregations in the MidAmerica Region*. Here’s how Faithify works: any Unitarian Universalist individual or organization can post a campaign at https://faithify.org. Campaigns can be for any amount, and can appear on the Faithify website for 15, 30, 45, or 60 days. If a campaign has reached its goal by the end of the that time, the individual or group who posted the campaign will receive the funds. If a campaign does not succeed, no donations will be processed and the campaign poster will receive no funds.
This is where Chalice Lighters will come in. In order to help qualified Faithify campaigns from MidAmerica congregations succeed, the Chalice Lighters program will donate up to 10% of their funding goals. So, for example, if a campaign is seeking $5000, Chalice Lighters will contribute $500. To be considered for these funds, a campaign must come from a congregation or related Unitarian Universalist organization in the MidAmerica Region. Priority will be given to groups that show the same commitment to Unitarian Universalism in MidAmerica that Chalice Lighter applicants are asked to show: Shared Stewardship, Honor Congregation Status, Active Chalice Lighter Program, and Participation in the Life of the MidAmerica Region.
As I said earlier, these changes won’t take place until the Fall 2019 Chalice Lighter Call. Until then, we will continue to award grants to three congregations in the MidAmerica Region. With one exception—this Chalice Lighter Call. Because we didn’t have any applications for the Fall 2018 Chalice Lighter Call, we’ve decided to use this opportunity to begin building up a dedicated fund for Faithify contributions. Every dollar you send to this call will be held in a special account to support Faithify campaigns from MidAmerica congregations and related organizations beginning in September 2019. We intend to work closely with groups posting campaigns on Faithify, and our hope is to contribute to one campaign from a MidAmerica congregation or organization every month. That way Chalice Lighters will be able to give thousands of dollars a year to support Faithify campaigns in addition to the three yearly Chalice Lighter calls. This would substantially increase the amount of money we can give to congregations and other organizations in the Region.
For this Fall 2018 Call, please donate by December 31, 2018
As usual, there are several ways you can participate in the Chalice Lighter program, with four suggested levels of donation:
$20 Believer $100 Benefactor
$50 Builder $250 Beacon
These are amounts that would be donated three times each year upon receipt of the Call Letter in Fall, Winter and Spring.
If you’d prefer, for tax purposes, to make one donation per year ($60 minimum donation to be divided among the next three Calls) you can send a check now, and we will hold the funds and divide them equally across the three Calls. If you want to make an annual donation, please be sure to note “Annual” in the memo line of your check. To donate:
- You can DONATE HERE or
- Write a check out to MidAmerica Region. Please note “Chalice Lighters Fall 2018 Call” or “Annual Donation” in the memo line and mail it to the MidAmerica Region, 2355 Fairview Avenue #312, Roseville, MN 55113.
Thank you again for your generosity!
Rev. Phillip Lund, Congregational Life Consultant
*MidAmerica Region congregations that have recently had successful Faithify campaigns:
Unity Church-Unitarian, Saint Paul, MN
All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis, IN
Unitarian Church of Evanston, Evanston, IL
Bismarck-Mandan UU Congregation, Bismarck, ND
All Souls UU Church, Kansas City, MO
Miami Valley UU Fellowship, Dayton, OH
James Reeb UU Congregation, Madison, WI
UU Church of Elgin, Elgin, IL
UU Congregation of Owensboro, Owensboro, KY