Together with donors, InFaith Community Foundation addresses a number of pressing and unmet needs facing our shared community. Over time, donors gave directly to InFaith to impact ever-changing community needs. The issues addressed are inspired by donor interests and informed through our relationship with the community. InFaith identifies key issues and develops initiatives to achieve effective, positive and lasting change.
Grant support to FaithTrust Institute ($105,000) for the Safe & Healthy Churches program.
In partnership with Faith Trust, The Safe & Healthy Churches initiative equips parish-based teams of church and lay leaders to respond to domestic violence and sexual abuse by providing tools and resources on how to adequately address the religious issues of domestic violence and child abuse through in-person trainings and webinars. An estimated 100,755 individuals have been in the five year history of the program through the trainings, webinars and overall initiative.
- Since its pilot in 2010, the program has been successfully executed in six US cities, training 470 people and 140 churches, as well as delivered 50 webinars.
- Over 71% of participants state their church is now actively working to address domestic violence and child abuse.
- After attending the training, 93% report it has raised their awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence and child abuse, and the importance of a faith-community response.
Read the full announcement here.
InFaith’s Creation Care Initiative works to build capacity, help churches reduce their energy footprint, promote leadership and engage InFaith donors around the concern of creation care. InFaith staff and donors often reflect on outcomes from each initiative and explore possibilities for continued impact. From these discussions related to the Creation Care Initiative, the concept of water as a guiding focus within the initiative arose. Access to clean water is a basic and essential right, yet is increasingly compromised by droughts, pollution, rising tides, flooding and other natural disasters.
InFaith's Mission Growth Portfolio further supports our water initiative through investment of charitable assets in KBI Water Strategy. KBI invests in companies addressing global water challenges through water conservation and sustainable water supplies. These companies must derive at least 50% of their revenues from water-related activities and be a market leader in the industry (with at least 10% of revenues coming from water-related revenues). Investments do not include companies that produce bottled water, hydroelectric power or dredging.
Why Water as a Focused Issue
Water makes life possible. It is an essential element to physical and spiritual existence. Storms and wildfires of unprecedented magnitudes have caused environmental stresses and impact on humanity all over the world. Some one-third of the world’s population is living in either water-scarce or water-short areas. It is predicted both climate change and population growth will take this number to one-half of humanity.
InFaith is uniquely positioned as a catalyst and connector throughout communities. Thanks to the generosity of InFaith donors, grants from this initiative will aid in building transformational capacity of faith leaders to create change in communities where help is an utmost necessity.
The Creation Care initiative with a focus on water begins its work with three new grantee partners:
- Creation Justice Ministries (CJM) $40,000 – Started in 1983 by the National Council of Churches, CJM represents a broad coalition of ecumenical members (38 denominations) in the work of educating and mobilizing Christian denominations, churches and individuals to protect, restore and rightly share God’s creation. CJM has responded on the front lines of water crises, such as Flint, Detroit and Appalachia. This grant will deepen Christian engagement on water issues on a national level, with specific focus on Appalachia and Michigan.
- Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA (MAS) $40,000 – The largest synod of the ELCA, MAS is the first and only ELCA synod to have on staff a Congregational Organizer for Environmental Justice. One initiative of MAS is the EcoFaith Network, which is leading “Our Watershed Moment”, engaging communities of faith in dialogue and action around water. This grant will replicate their organizing structure ecumenically with local judicatories, including AME (African Methodist Episcopal Church).
- Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches (EWN of WCC) $20,000 – The WCC is a fellowship of 348 churches representing 560 million Christians in more than 110 countries, the broadest and most inclusive expression of the modern ecumenical movement. This grant will support one of its networks, EWN, in holding its second annual Eco-School on Water, Food and Climate Justice. In 2018 this training will bring together 25 young people from Latin America and the Caribbean in an ecumenical setting to study the local, regional, and international manifestation and causes of the world’s water crisis, challenges to food security and the effects of climate change.
Grant support to Lutheran World Relief ($30,000) for rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean, in partnership with Thrivent Employee Giving Campaign.
Through this initiative, InFaith collaborates with Lutheran World Relief (LWR) to continue life-saving work around the world with determination and dedication, remaining committed to “forgotten emergencies” even after media attention fades. Beyond working to meet basic needs, such as food and clean water, LWR works in partnership with global neighbors to increase their capacity for change that is lasting and meaningful.
Most recently, InFaith recently distributed a grant to LWR to assist with relief and reconstruction efforts in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Northern Haiti and Cuba. LWR has 75 years of demonstrated expertise helping to transform some of the hardest-to-reach places in the developing world. Workers are currently on the ground rebuilding with local partners to respond to the needs of people in remote villages that have been decimated by hurricanes and are still cut off from basic services.
Details from LWR:
In September of 2017, Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation. As communities were assessing the damage and just starting the rebuilding process, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 5 hurricane, dealing a crippling blow to island nations. Both hurricanes Irma and Maria registered as some of the most powerful hurricanes in recorded history, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. The most affected islands to date are Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St. Thomas, St. John, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Due to the overwhelming devastation and need in Puerto Rico, LWR will support the assessment of immediate needs and support relief efforts. They will work collaboratively with the ELCA to respond to the needs of people in remote villages on the island that have been decimated by the hurricane and are still cut off from basic services.
LWR continues to support families in Northern Haiti affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Efforts are focused on local coffee and cacao cooperatives to help families recoup agricultural livelihood losses, as well as building capacity in emergency preparedness for future hurricanes. In Cuba, LWR supports a project that aims to provide shelter and food security to affected populations.
InFaith Field of Interest Grants
Provides immediate relief to communities and victims of disasters
Lutheran Social Services of Puerto Rico provides reconstructive support to areas of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Along with construction and direct disaster relief, vulnerable populations receive recovery aid and education to help prepare and address any future natural disasters.
Significant funding and support for Puerto Rico is needed to continue creating a recovery plan, secure resources, provide emotional and spiritual care for survivors and leaders, and continue rebuilding.
Learn about InFaith and Thrivent's collaboration to provide disaster relief and how you can contribute to InFaith's Disaster Relief Fund by calling InFaith at 800-365-4172.
A 2018 grant of $100,000 to the InFaith Disaster Response Fund and generous gifts from InFaith donors helped make this possible.
Supports services designed to improve the health & well-being of individuals and families
Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Global Greens program is reconnecting former refugee farmers to U.S. agriculture. Through Global Greens, farmers have access to land to grow food and learn more about U.S. agriculture. They can start their own business by selling produce at local Farmers’ Market and in the Global Greens CSA.
Since 2010, LS in Iowa has worked with Des Moines volunteers, private land owners, and the refugee community to manage 19 community gardens and a small farm training site. This work has resulted in 27 farmers learning necessary skills to farm in Iowa.
A 2018 grant of $15,000 to the InFaith Health Services Fund and generous gifts from InFaith donors helped make this possible.
Addresses issues and needs in the area of Christian education at all levels
Works to improve the quality of life of individuals and families within the Christian community
Humanitri's Transformational Housing Program helps families facing homelessness by teaching healthy coping skills, self-management skills, household skills and financial literacy.
Transitive Housing strives to improve families financial condition, to strengthen formal and informal support networks and aids the transition to safe and stable housing. Humanitri works to address mental and emotional root causes of homelessness, to maximize positive case management outcomes for parents and children and to build a foundation for families to continue physical and emotional wellness.
A 2018 grant of $15,000 from the InFaith Health Services Fund and generous gifts from InFaith donors helped make this possible.
ELCA & related organizations
Supports urgent and unmet needs of the ELCA & its ministries
The Women of The ELCA’s (WELCA) Raising Up Healthy Women & Girls Initiative was created to further expand the church’s work to improve women’s health. The primary focus is educating ELCA church members on the impact of human trafficking, what is being done to stop it and how churches and their members can join efforts to help end human trafficking.
WELCA believes when women commit to caring for themselves, they can then fully commit to their purpose and mission in the church. Healthy women can produce healthy families, churches, and communities, and can develop healthy, holistic societies.
A 2018 grant of $17,800 from the InFaith ELCA & Related Organizations Fund and generous gifts from InFaith donors helped make this possible.
LCMS & related organizations
Supports urgent and unmet needs of the LCMS & its ministries
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod National Housing Support Corporation’s (NHSC) Project RENEW supports residents of the Trinity Gardens neighborhood in Houston, an area hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. As a comprehensive LCMS collaborative effort, Project RENEW provides a strategic response through rehab and repair services, community outreach and case management.
NHSC works with organizations engaged in community and economic development activities. Activities are designed to meet needs of each respective community and have included community organizing, financial literacy education, homeownership education, housing development and rehabilitation, economic development, and housing relief for disaster-stricken areas.
A 2018 grant of $43,000 from the InFaith LCMS & Related Organizations Fund and generous gifts from InFaith donors helped make this possible.
WELS & related organizations
Support urgent and unmet needs of the WELS and its ministries
This charitable fund, created at InFaith to support the urgent and unmet needs in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, has not yet reached the required threshold for grantmaking. Contact InFaith donor services to learn how you can join a community of donors contributing to future the future of WELS.
Ecumenical & interfaith organizations
Support urgent and unmet needs of interfaith ministries
InFaith is working with organizations and individuals to build up an endowed fund to support urgent and unmet needs of ecumenical and interfaith organizations. Contact InFaith donor services to learn how you can join a community of donors contributing to future the future of Interfaith and Ecumenical ministries.