Dear MidAmerica Chalice Lighter,
It’s been five years since the Chalice Lighter programs of the former Heartland, Central Midwest, and Prairie Star districts were combined to form the MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighters Program. In that time, congregations from around the region have received thousands of dollars in grants funded by your generosity. The time has come to reassess the program, which we’ll be doing over the next year.
Our goal is to reformulate the program so that congregations can receive even larger grants for starting new congregations, acquiring meeting space, securing a minister, religious educator, or other professional staff, or providing for outreach and public relations. And as part of the selection process, the committee will be looking for proposals that are feasible, sustainable, and accountable. We’ll keep you informed about any changes in the program in the 2018-19 Chalice Lighter Call letters.
For the 2018 Spring Call, the MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighter Committee received eight applications—a record number! We are pleased to announce that these three have been chosen for this Chalice Lighter call:
- The Bismarck Mandan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship & Church in North Dakota will be receiving funds to hire a half-time clergy to provide ministerial support and guidance with the goal of developing a thriving congregation.
- The Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, will also be receiving funds to assist the fellowship in moving their quarter time minister to half time.
- And the Second Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebraska, will receive grant money to build two accessible and gender-neutral bathrooms.
For this Call, please donate by June 15, 2018
Categories to Be Funded
The MidAmerica Region, UUA Growth and Support Committee is seeking applications for a Chalice Lighter Grant. A Chalice Lighter Grant can be used to start a new congregation, acquire a meeting space, secure a minister, religious educator, or other professional staff, or provide for an outreach or public relations program. Any congregation may apply.
NOTE: Once you start filling out the application form below, you cannot save it and come back and edit it again. Once you start you have to finish. So be sure to print out the Application Checklist below and gather all the information electronically before you begin.
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There are 3 cycles of grant giving. Depending on which cycle you are applying in, the application is due in the MidAmerica Region office no later than:
August 15 November 15 February 15
Please read these guidelines in their entirety before filling out the application form.
Chalice Lighter Grants
PLEASE NOTE: ALL APPLICATIONS AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS MUST BE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY USING THE FORM BELOW.
Donations by Chalice Lighters can be used for four (4) purposes:
- Supporting a new or emerging congregation.
- Acquiring or expanding meeting space for an existing congregation.
- Increase paid professional staffing.
- Establishing outreach and public relations programs.
The primary intent of the Chalice Lighters Program is funding for well-thought-out growth efforts connected to the larger vision of Unitarian Universalism.
- Congregations may be awarded a CL grant more than once; however, preference will be given to congregations who have not previously received a Chalice Lighter grant.
- A congregation may submit only one proposal for each call.
- Shared stewardship within the whole congregation, such as a challenge matching pledge or increase in volunteers will be viewed favorably.
- Preference will be given to those congregations which have contributed their fair share to the Annual Program Fund (APF) and regional dues, or can demonstrate a plan for getting to Fair Share, and/or have given financial support to a new church start.
- Preference will be given to congregations with active and growing Chalice Lighter programs. We suggest a minimum goal of 20% of members active in the Chalice Lighter Program.
- Churches receiving Chalice Lighter Grants are expected to participate in the life of the MidAmerica Region, UUA, including regional growth, membership and leadership development workshops
- Interim and 6 and 12-month reports will be required on the expenditure of Chalice Lighter Funds.
Each Chalice Lighter grant application will be evaluated based on the following criteria.
- The project reflects UU values and the congregation's mission and vision. (Please include your congregation's mission and vision statements.)
- The project supports congregational growth and/or Unitarian Universalism.
- The project has broad congregational support and is integrated into the long-range plan.
- The budget and pledging reflect strong stewardship values, e.g. pattern of increased giving, fair compensation for staff).
- All components of the application are complete & concise, and required & relevant documentation is attached.
- The goals of the project are clearly defined and achievable, and there is a plan for tracking success.
- The plan includes a means of reporting; project results should be reported to MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighter Committee through the regional office at six months and twelve months.
- The grant is for a specific project and not general budget relief.
- The congregation is working toward Fair Share and a high percentage of Chalice Lighters.
- The application includes the following fiscal information:
- Current year's budget including previous year's annual fiscal report
- Budget projections for next 2-3 years that show project sustainability
The application provides:
- The name of the current Chalice Lighter Ambassador and the number of Chalice Lighters;
- Information on Fair Share status on a) Annual Program Fund (APF) to the UUA and b) MidAmerica Region congregational contribution.
Connections to the Greater Community
- Special consideration will be given to projects that promote inclusiveness, environmental issues, social justice, and accessibility.
- Special consideration will be given to projects that demonstrate learnings that can be shared with other congregations.
- Preference will be given to congregations that have not received a CL grant in the past three years.
- Evidence of how PR effort(s) will be integrated with overall strategic planning is encouraged.
CLARIFICATIONS FOR NEW AND EMERGING CONGREGATIONS
- A New Congregation (A Congregation that has been affiliated with the UUA for less than 5 years):
- New congregations should have the endorsement of a nearby Unitarian Universalist congregation. The group should furnish with its request for funds:
- A feasibility study
- Financial projection
Special Notes for Emerging and New Congregations:
- An Emerging Congregation is defined as a congregation that is beginning and has not yet formally affiliated with the UUA.
- New Congregations are congregations recently affiliated with the UUA, within the past 5 years.
- Both emerging and new congregations can apply for separate earmarked CL funds. These funds use the same categories as explained below. Personal contact with a MidAmerica Region staff person is recommended. Please be in contact with the MidAmerica Region if this is your situation.
“Supporting a new or emerging congregation”
See definitions above in C. Use the following guidelines as they are useful to you. If your project does not seem to fit, please call MidAmerica Region staff. Your situation may well not easily fit in these guidelines, but would be very appropriate for a young congregation.
“Acquiring a Meeting Space”
- A proper, permanent location is a vital step in strengthening a congregation.
- Preference will be given to congregations without a meeting space. Funding may be applied for:
- Purchase of a building;
- Deposit for acquiring long term space – lease, rental or special arrangements;
- Construction of a new building, or remodeling of a currently owned building.
- Purchase of a land for future construction.
- Financial projection for the next five (5) years should be included with the application showing how the estimated funds from Chalice Lighters will be used.
“Increasing paid professional staff: Minister, Religious Educator, or other Staff”
- Professional leadership is the single most influential factor on the growth and well being of a congregation.
- The congregation should be following the UUA guidelines for settling a minister. If the minister, or other religious professional, is to be shared with another congregation, both should make the request for funds. Five (5) year financial projections, including the compensation package should be included with the application.
“Outreach and Public Relations Programs”
- Outreach and Public Relations programs may constitute a number of clearly defined projects from one or more congregations. Please include an explanation of your plans and choice of methodology. Please include clearly defined goals and measures of accountability.
Open this PDF and print out as a checklist to gather your information. You won't be able to save and then go back and edit your application once you've started. Note, this document contains important information about information required, so please don't fail to print it out and read it and follow its instructions.
pdf Chalice Lighter Grant Application Checklist (74 KB>)>