Social Action Outreach Grant Process

Each year, The Plymouth Church in Framingham allocates 5% of Pledged Giving to “Outreach.” The intent is that the money be spent on justice and charitable efforts beyond the congregation. These funds are distributed in four ways.

  1. External Requests. Local organizations and nonprofits submit a Grant Application. Applications are submitted annually and grants are distributed on a quarterly basis. These applications come from outside the congregation.

  2. Internal Requests. Church members approach Social Action with proposals. These applications are reviewed quarterly.

  3. Emergency Appeals. In response to natural disasters or other urgent needs in the wider community, Social Action may distribute funds.

  4. Gift Cards. As part of our relationship to local shelters, Social Action distributes gift cards for dispersal on a quarterly basis.

External Requests

Timeline

August 15 — Grant Applications available
October 15 — Grant Application deadline
October 15 to November 1 — Reading Period
November 1 to November 15 —  Grant Decision Made
November 15 to January 1 —  Holiday Break
January 15 —  Publish Outreach budget for Budget Hearing
February (First Sunday) —  Congregational Meeting
February 15 —  Award Letters to Organizations
March 1 —  First Quarterly grant payment distributed
June 1 —   Second Quarterly grant payment distributed
September 1 —  Third Quarterly grant payment distributed
December 1 —  Fourth Quarterly grant payment distributed

 Decision-Making

Applications will be submitted to the Social Action Coordinating Committee. Adjudication of the grant applications will be carried out by Social Action or a Task Team appointed to this purpose. Decisions will be made based on the timeliness and completeness of the grant application, as well as its connection to church values, and the availability of funds.

In its deliberation, these are some of the values to consider. Does this project or service:

●     align with the church’s mission? For example, our commitment to children & families, Open & Affirming, Racial Justice, Climate Justice, etc.
●     help people
●     have a local presence or connection
●     offer our membership volunteer opportunities or expand discipleship
●     grow our church’s impact for the better in our community

 Not every organization may align perfectly with every expectation and value, but significant discussion should be had when evaluating each grant application. As the church clarifies its values over time, this list should grow and shift accordingly.

 Additional questions for consideration may be:

●     How much money is the request?
●     How large is the organization? What percentage of their funding will this grant equal?
●     How many awards should be given in a particular year?
●     Do we plan to give away all of the available $8-10,000 in a given year? Specifically in years where there may be fewer applications.

Do we approve every grant application? Specifically, in years where there are more applications, do we decrease the amount of each grant to give something to everyone, or give a more sizable amount to fewer organizations to have a greater impact?

Procedures

The grant application and decision making periods will take place before results of the Annual Pledge Drive are known. As such, the Committee or Task Team should plan to distribute $8,000-10,000 to outside organizations through this external grant application process.

After the congregation has voted to approve these grants, letters of announcement should be sent to each organization by mid-February. The letter should detail the size of the award, and the dates by which they can anticipate receiving funds. The letter might also encourage partnership between the organization and the congregation through presentation in worship, volunteer opportunities, and other ways the congregation can get involved in the work of the organization.

Dispersal of funds will take place quarterly: March, June, September, and December.

Thank You letters received from organizations will be scanned and posted on our Facebook page.

Internal Requests

Members of the Congregation may also submit Grant Applications to the Social Action Committee. Applications will be reviewed quarterly in March, June, September, and December.

The same evaluation process will be used in assessing these applications as with external submissions.

It is asked that church members submit only one application per quarter.