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Grant, parishes push FaithWorks over top

By Stuart Mann

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and the response of Anglicans in the parishes, the diocese’s annual FaithWorks campaign surpassed its goal for 2018, raising $1,365,600 for people in need.  

The donor gave a $75,000 “challenge grant” to the campaign last year. That meant that every new or increased donation from the parishes would be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $75,000. Anglicans responded, increasing their donations by $108,000 and making full use of the grant.

Staff and volunteers of Flemingdon Park Ministry in Toronto provide fresh food for local residents. Photo courtesy of Flemingdon Park Ministry

Bishop Andrew Asbil says he is heartened by the results. “It says that Anglicans have a heart for social justice and taking care of the most vulnerable among us and being able to not just provide care and support but also advocacy.”

He added: “I’m incredibly grateful for parishes and individuals who take the time not just to support the fabric and the ministry of their home church but to look beyond themselves and to say we know that there is incredible ministry happening in our communities and around the diocese that need help and I’m going to give that little extra.”

FaithWorks supports families in crisis, children, youth and women in need, immigrants, the homeless, the imprisoned, those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and people living in the developing world. Since the appeal was launched in 1996, it has raised more than $30 million.

Donations from the parishes in 2018 amounted to $726,300, a 13 per cent increase over 2017. “This is the first increase in over-all parish giving in five years and is a welcome change,” says Peter Misiaszek, the diocese’s director of Stewardship Development.

Of the 154 parishes that participated in the 2018 appeal, 77 increased their giving. Donations were down in 2016 and 2017 as parishes responded to the Syrian refugee crisis but rebounded last year as parishes renewed their focus on FaithWorks and responded to the challenge grant.

FaithWorks donations helped to complete Phase 2 of the Pikangikum Water Project with an additional 10 houses retrofitted with indoor plumbing. Photo courtesy of PWRDF

Corporations gave $259,300 to the appeal in 2018, down 20 per cent from the previous year. The reduction was due to companies re-evaluating and realigning their giving areas, says Mr. Misasizek, a trend that is likely to continue.

Despite the drop, Mr. Misasizek says companies have played an important role in the campaign and will continue to do so. “We have been blessed for many years to get the gifts that we have,” he says, adding that several companies still give to the diocese through the Bishop’s Company Dinner and by sponsoring Synod.

A further $378,000 was raised in the 2018 campaign from individuals, groups, foundations, bequests and interest on the FaithWorks’ endowment fund.

The goal for the 2019 campaign is $1,350,000. Mr. Misiaszek says the appeal will have to step up its efforts to engage with the parishes and major donors to make up for the shortfall from corporations, but he is confident the goal can be reached, especially if another donor steps forward with a challenge grant.

Shelagh McPherson, chair of the FaithWorks allocation committee, says several ministries rely on FaithWorks funding for survival. “The donations are important to all of the groups that we fund, but for some of them FaithWorks is their lifeblood.”

Homeless people sleep at All Saints Church Community Centre in Toronto during Christmas. Photo courtesy of All Saints

She says she is very encouraged by the parish results in the 2018 campaign. “It’s a recommitment to FaithWorks, I hope, a recommitment to outreach.”

FaithWorks funded the following Anglican-affiliated ministries in 2018: All Saints Church Community Centre, Toronto; The Warming Room, Peterborough; The Bridge Prison Ministry, Brampton; The David Busby Centre, Barrie; the Anglican United Refugee Alliance, Toronto; Flemingdon Park Ministry, Toronto; Couchiching Jubilee House, Orillia; Downsview Youth Covenant, Toronto; North House Shelter, north Durham; Samaritan House Community, Barrie; The Dam, Mississauga; Giving With Grace, northern Canada and Ontario; the Philip Aziz Centre, Toronto; PWRDF, Toronto; and the Toronto Urban Native Ministry, Toronto.

The 2019 FaithWorks campaign materials will be available to parishes in time for Lenten campaigns.

Learn more about FaithWorks.