I recall my preaching professor describing the front of his son’s t-shirt as we began our homiletics class in seminary: “If you love me, tell me a story.” Indeed, storytelling is at the heart of all we do as followers of Jesus. “Go out and tell . . .” Jesus said in one way or another. And the church has been trying to do it ever since. 

Episcopal Community Services Foundation (ECSF) will soon become Episcopal Community Ministries (ECM). At the end of this year the organizational and administrative services will shift from a stand-alone foundation to a committee supported by the diocesan office of the bishop. It’s a new way to support an on-going story of love and community. It’s a continuing story of our call to reach out to neighbors in need through an intentional and designated fundraising and granting program. 

What we’ve known as ECSF will soon become ECM, and we thought answers to some FAQs might be in order during the transition. 

Will my contribution go to ECM grants or somewhere else? All funds received by donors earmarked ECM will be used to fund grants for neighborhood ministries through ECM. Under the former foundation, some of the funds raised did go toward operating expenses; we are now happy to say that all contributions to ECM will go directly to the ministries. 

How will I make out my check under ECM? Prior to December 31, 2019, checks should be made out to Episcopal Community Services Foundation (or ECSF). As of January 1, 2020, checks should be made payable to Episcopal Community Ministries (or ECM). All funds will be processed through the diocesan Finance Department, as they are now, and will be used for grant funding. Please continue to mail checks to 412 Sycamore St., Cincinnati OH 45202.

Will the grant application process be the same? Yes. Expect what worked in the past to continue to work in the future.

Who will decide which grant applications are funded? The new ECM Grants Committee will make these decisions based on the same criteria used by the ECSF board.

Who will help me when I have questions? A support staff person will be assigned to ECM administrative tasks and will be available to help with questions about completing grant applications, opportunities and methods of giving, and other details concerning the ministry of ECM. The Finance Department of the diocese will continue to process and mail the grant checks to the ministry grant recipients.

How has ECSF been funded in the past? Grants have been funded through fund-raising efforts and donor response. Also, an unrestricted investment account called the Blanchard Fund was established through a major campaign in 1991 and earmarked for ECSF. In the past, salaries and administrative costs have been covered by the Blanchard Fund. Going forward, the Blanchard Fund will continue to be designated for the benefit of ECM and used for administrative costs.

How will grant funds be raised going forward? Fund-raising for parish-supported outreach to local agencies and ministries will be addressed through a new “Bishop’s Annual Appeal” beginning in 2020 with funds directed to ECM. Of course, gifts to ECM are welcome at any time of the year! 

To make a contribution and find out more about ECSF/ECM: Go to https://www.ecsfsouthernohio.org 

The Rev. Canon Lynn Carter-Edmands is Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Southern Ohio and serves as the bishop’s staff liaison to the ECSF/ECM.

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