Anglican Foundation sees more requests to fund innovative ministry

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Migrant farmworkers in Fenwick, Ont., try on winter coats at a free store run by St. Alban’s Anglican Church, Beamsville, funded, in part, by a grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada. Photo: Contributed
Migrant farmworkers in Fenwick, Ont., try on winter coats at a free store run by St. Alban’s Anglican Church, Beamsville, funded, in part, by a grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada. Photo: Contributed

A rebrand launched a few years ago at the Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC) translated into requests to fund unusually innovative ministry projects in 2016, say Foundation officials.

“We’re receiving applications and RFP proposals for all kinds of very interesting projects,” says AFC executive director Canon Judy Rois. “This was the year of movement into an organization that is looking to support the Anglican Church of Canada at a whole new level.”

Traditionally seen as a source of funding for infrastructure-type projects—church roof repairs and basement renovations, for example—the Foundation has in recent years been putting increasing focus on supporting ministry it considers especially innovative. In 2013, it launched a new logo and taglineimagine more—intended to express creativity, innovation and imagination. Last year, Rois says, this brand seemed to “take hold across the country,” as it received more requests to fund ministry beyond church walls.

Scott Brubacher, AFC’s executive administrator, agrees. Some memorable projects funded last year include, for example, an outreach ministry for migrant workers; an Indigenous language mentorship project; and a lay spiritual education program, he says.

AFC disbursed roughly $725,000 in grants in 2016, down from $850,000 the previous year, but well above the average of $623,000 for the 10 years from 2007-2016. It funded 39 projects in dioceses across Canada, and also awarded $103,000 in bursaries to students at 15 theological schools.

Of the $725,000, about $130,000 consisted of “automatic disbursements”—payouts the fund makes to the same recipients every year, such as The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and a number of seminaries.

In May, the Foundation awarded a grant of $10,000 to St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Beamsville, Ont., to support the church’s ministry to migrant workers. The ministry includes providing worship in Spanish plus access to medical and legal services, English-language classes, bicycles and more.

In November, AFC announced $10,000 to Aboriginal Neighbours, an ecumenical group launched by the diocese of British Columbia. The grant is to go toward the organization’s Revitalization of Indigenous Living Languages project—a project pairing people wanting to learn an Indigenous language with mentors who want to teach them. The program, Brubacher says, has proven very popular.

“Apparently there are dozens of pairs that want to be able to do this, and there’s just not nearly enough funding to help make it happen, so we’ve been happy to help sponsor some of these pairs to keep Indigenous languages alive,” he says.

Also in November, the AFC awarded $6,350 to the diocese of New Westminster for its Lay Spiritual Renewal Project, a program aimed at encouraging young Anglicans to become more actively engaged in Christian life and mission. The multi-year project is one of a number of diocesan education programs the Foundation is sponsoring, Brubacher says.

The amount of money given out by the Foundation in any year depends on a number of factors, Brubacher says, including the performance of investments in the fund and the requests for funding that are made. It’s also directly dependent on the amount of donations that come in—a fact that many Anglicans may be unaware of, he says.

Contributions to AFC in 2016 totalled roughly $300,000, Brubacher says. The figure includes annual contributions as well as special one-time gifts and bequests.

Created in 1957 to financially support ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, AFC will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year.

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Tali Folkins
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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