In 2016, FaithWorks will celebrate 20 years of supporting Anglican-affiliated ministry in the Diocese of Toronto and beyond. Since its inception, FaithWorks has raised more than $25 million on behalf our partner ministries.
The name FaithWorks was originally suggested by Ward McCance, a parishioner at St. Peter, Cobourg, and a long-time supporter of diocesan outreach. FaithWorks was created in response to shrinking budgets – at the diocesan and provincial levels – at a time when the fabric of Ontario’s social safety net was becoming frayed. Within three years, FaithWorks came to be embraced by 85 per cent of parishes as our shared diocesan appeal for outreach ministry.
In 2014, FaithWorks raised $1.44 million, of which $1,067,892 was distributed to partner ministries; $84,927 was retained by parishes for their own outreach ministries; and $39,518 supported area ministry grants.
Parishes continue to provide the largest percentage of FaithWorks funds raised each year. Parish commitment remains strong; however, it would be unwise to rely solely on our parishes for support. This is why, in 2004, the FaithWorks Corporate appeal was launched. Since then, the corporate community has contributed more than $3 million. Other sources of support now include foundations, individual major donors, online giving, and two direct mail campaigns each year. We are redoubling our efforts to seek a broader base of financial support to ensure that FaithWorks will have the resources it requires for many years to come.
Much has changed over the past two decades. Long-time ministry partners are experiencing higher demand for services than ever before. New ministry opportunities have emerged in communities where there is no FaithWorks presence. All the while, the challenges faced by the most marginalized members of our communities have increased, as cutbacks increasingly force non-profit organizations to shoulder an ever-larger share of the burden for meeting their needs.
As a result, the competition for charitable dollars has grown fierce. Donors have many options for “doing good,” and they expect a greater level of accountability from the organizations that they choose to support. They want to know just exactly how their financial support is making an impact in the community.
Last fall, the FaithWorks Allocations Committee began a strategic review process through which it seeks to ensure the sustainability of FaithWorks well into the future. This will require an adequate level of support for existing ministries, but also will create the potential to assist ministries in parts of the diocese not currently served by FaithWorks. The committee believes that an important focus of this review is to ensure that FaithWorks is more intentionally aligned with diocesan missional priorities. The process has included dialogue with the College of Bishops and key diocesan staff members.
The committee’s work is ongoing, but two messages have clearly emerged. The first is that FaithWorks will continue to support the work of ministries that understand that the funding they receive from the church is helping to further the diocesan mission, which is “to serve Jesus Christ through intelligent faith, godly worship, and compassionate service.” The second message is that organizations receiving funding from FaithWorks must be committed to investing in the ongoing development of their board, staff and volunteers, their governance and management structures, and their own fundraising to support their ministry.
Allocations Committee Chair Shelagh McPherson, a parishioner of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Toronto, is excited about emerging opportunities for FaithWorks. “The committee members believe that there are many ways that we can support our partners; some are financial and some are not. We believe that creating strategic partnerships is one way that we might be able to offer a variety of resources to help our partner ministries build their capacity to serve their communities, and help each ministry achieve a greater level of sustainability.”
For example, a newly-established partnership with World Vision’s Child Well-Being Network will provide training and networking opportunities in areas such as volunteer management, fundraising events, grant writing and project sustainability. W. Clayton Rowe, director of World Vision’s Canadian Programs, is enthusiastic about the partnership. “We appreciate FaithWorks’ commitment to churches and local ministries,” he says. “Through a spirit of partnership, FaithWorks seeks to steward resources to transform the lives of those hidden by injustice. World Vision Canadian Programs anticipates great results through our work together.”
We are also optimistic about the potential for partnering with the Toronto Halo Project to understand the economic impact of FaithWorks ministries on the communities they serve. Dr. Mike Wood Daly, Toronto Halo Project’s executive director, explains: “The Toronto Halo Project is designed to assess the tangible as well as intangible services and resources that communities of faith provide to their surrounding neighbourhoods. The simplest way of thinking about this is as follows: If a community of faith were to cease to exist, what would it cost the City of Toronto to replace the services and resources they provided to their surrounding neighbourhood?”
In addition to the powerful stories of lives transformed that have always touched the hearts of donors and inspired them to generosity, these impact assessments will enable FaithWorks ministries to share their stories in new ways, appealing to a new generation of donors who want to understand how their gift to FaithWorks is making a real difference in addressing the root causes of poverty. Visit www.faithworks.ca to make a secure online donation.