From 2016 to 2018, close to $500 thousand in juried grants were disbursed through the Vision Fund to “faithfully seed local, regional and diocese-wide initiatives that give tangible expression to the Diocesan Vision.” Vision Fund 1.0 was a one-time undertaking, which was deemed to be very successful. From the outset, it anticipated a future fund-raising campaign that would allow the work to continue over the longer term. Synod 2018 ratified that initiative, under the title of Transforming Futures.
Under Transforming Futures, parishes will raise an additional 115% of one year’s annual givings over a three-to five-year period. 60% of those additional funds will remain in the parish to support projects consistent with the diocesan Vision and the Season of Discipleship. Many of these projects will likely be similar to those supported by Vision Fund 1.0. It is anticipated that over the next five years, most parishes in the diocese will participate in Transforming Futures. More about Transforming Futures can be found here.
The Five-Year Financial Plan presented and approved at Synod 2018 contemplates a second and slightly different set of Vision Fund grants. The money for Vision 2.0 will come from the 40% share of Transforming Futures revenue that is managed at the synod office. Resources will also be set aside for the work of the Vision Implementation Teams and other special purpose funds to support specific aspects of the diocesan Vision.
Diocesan Finance Committee and Diocesan Council have approved a minimum financial commitment of a total of $50,000 in 2019 toward Vision Fund 2.0 grants, with the potential for this to increase to a maximum of $100,000, depending on the progress of the first Transforming Futures projects. It is anticipated that funding levels in future years will fall in a similar range.
As noted above, many of the initiatives supported by the Vision Fund in its initial years were single-parish projects of the sort that are now contemplated under Transforming Futures. However, there is a real need to prepare parishes for success in their new efforts, and to encourage them to come together to work towards objectives that are regional in scope, or transcend parish boundaries.
At the same time, the bishop has declared a Season of Discipleship, which is predicated on the question posed to each of us, “What is the Gospel (Jesus) calling us to do?” How can we raise up the ministry of all the baptized, through lay ministry and leadership formation, through youth and family life, and through the encouragement of an individual and collective spiritual rule or rhythm of life?
All these factors are reflected in the mandate for Vision 2.0 as follows:
- Support projects which further one or more aspects of the diocesan Vision, as articulated here and which also are consistent with, and enhance, the diocesan Season of Discipleship, whose core principles are articulated in Chapter 12 of St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans, and whose contemporary applications to our time and place are articulated in the bishop’s article in the December 2018 Diocesan Post.
- Support projects that help parishes “prime the pump” for Transforming Futures initiatives, for example by helping to fund a “proof of concept” or pilot to test ideas and build capacity for projects that may later be funded from the parish’s share of a Transforming Futures campaign. The project may be underway, or in development. (Please note that Vision Fund grants are not intended to be used to fund the creation of a “case for support” for a fund-raising campaign.)
- Support projects that are regional in scope, involving more than one parish, encouraging and assisting parishes to work co-operatively with each other, and with other like-minded individuals and organizations in the community to address common challenges and achieve mutual goals. This could include expanding the reach of Vision Fund 1.0 projects to a regional or wider level.
Preference will be given to those applications which most clearly demonstrate that they can and will meet all three of these mandate criteria.
Process and Guidelines
- A Vision Fund jury, appointed by the bishop, will review and recommend Vision Fund grants for approval by diocesan Finance Committee and Diocesan Council.
- There will be two intake periods in 2019. The first deadline is April 15, for which decisions will be announced by June 1. The second deadline is September 15, for which decisions will be announced by November 1.
- Applications for grants should take the form of a submission (perhaps a letter with attachments) which:
⦁ Identifies the entity or entities making the application.
⦁ Provides a brief description of the project proposal.
⦁ Explains how the project meets the mandate criteria described above.
⦁ Describes how the project learnings and outcomes might be of benefit to the diocese as a whole, and how the proponents plan to share those learnings and outcomes.
⦁ Specifies the amount of funds being requested, and the total budget of the project, including other sources of funding. Preference will be given to projects with multiple funding sources, and especially those where the proponents themselves are contributing financial resources.
⦁ Provides other relevant background information.
⦁ Is signed by at least one officer of each entity involved, identifies their positions, and provides contact information.
⦁ Is submitted by e-mail to [email protected] with the phrase “Vision Fund: Expression of Interest” in the subject line.
4. Submissions should be for expenditures which can be completed within a year of approval. The maximum amount which can be approved this year for any one project is $7,500. Exceptions may be considered to allow higher funding levels for multi-parish projects demonstrating a particularly high degree of co-operation and innovation.
5. Submissions may be approved in whole or in part, and specific conditions may be attached to the jury’s decisions.
6. Successful applicants will be expected to provide reports to the Diocese on the use of their funds and the outcomes of their projects. They will also be expected to describe how they plan to share their experiences as widely as possible in their regions and across the diocese, and to follow through on those plans.
As always, the jury reserves the right to be flexible in its decision-making process, and to make exceptions to its guidelines and criteria in order to fulfil the spirit of its mandate. If you have an idea which you believe is deserving of consideration, you are encouraged to bring it forward. Often, the jury will work with proponents to shape and refine their proposals to improve their chances of success. At the same time, please bear in mind that available funds are limited, and it will likely not be possible to recommend funding for all deserving applications.
For more information, or to ask questions and seek advice or assistance with your proposal, please contact the Vision Fund Jury at [email protected]
RESOURCES FOR APPLICATIONS