Christ Episcopal donates $1K to community collaborative
By Jon Hawley
Monday, September 17, 2018
The Albemarle Area United Way last week asked area churches to coordinate their philanthropy through a new Community Care Collaborative, and at least one church says it plans to do so.
“This is just a down payment,” said Chip Broadfoot, pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, as he presented AAUW a check for $1,000 during a meeting at Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City. Notably, the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation donated $5,000 to the collaborative last month, but Christ Episcopal is the first church to donate to the collaborative.
AAUW Executive Director Bill Blake outlined the program for church leaders on Tuesday.
Unplanned yet everyday expenses can put people in crisis, Broadfoot said. If, for example, someone can't afford to replace a flat tire, they might not be able to get to work and a bad “ripple effect” will follow, he said.
People often go to churches for help with such expenses, but churches' aid sometimes doesn't reach everyone in need or provide the guidance they need to be self-sufficient, Broadfoot said. The Community Care Collaborative asks churches to pool some of their benevolence fund dollars through the United Way, which provides money but also directs people to other assistance.
The local United Way is seeking to raise $150,000 for the collaborative's first year, Blake said. He also presented the churches a draft budget, which includes the hiring of a case manager and volunteer coordinator who would take applications and build a database of people in need. The budget would also include providing that person “HIPAA-compliant software,” he added, referring to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that protects the privacy of each person’s health data.
Blake also said the collaborative is designed to improve churches' current philanthropy, not necessarily make them spend more.
“I don't think $150,000 is unreasonable, and we're not even really asking the faith-based community to really necessarily spend more dollars than you're already putting into your benevolence fund,” he said.
Blake also pledged the collaborative will operate efficiently, and with low overhead. He noted the collaborative would operate as a “community impact program” directly under the AAUW, rather than as a separate nonprofit. He also said the AAUW is modeling the collaborative after the Interfaith Community Outreach, which he said is now raising millions of dollars in Dare County.
In becoming an early supporter of the program, Broadfoot said he hoped to challenge the Elizabeth City area's faith-based community to follow suit.
“When we come together and do things, we do so much better,” Broadfoot told the group. “We feel like it's directing money to where it's actually needed.”
Broadfoot said after the meeting that people often ask Christ Episcopal for money several times a day, and “I don't know how many times I've given money and been unsure if it's in the right hands.”
Blake said he planned to hold more meetings with churches to discuss the collaborative. Possibly due to preparations for Hurricane Florence, Tuesday's event was lightly attended. In addition to Christ Episcopal, church officials from First Baptist, Good Shepherd Lutheran, and Blackwell Memorial Baptist attended. Also attending were officials from Albemarle Regional Health Services.
Blake also told the gathering that several people are helping plan the collaborative, including Matt Wood, Wilma Harris, Natalie Jenkins-Peel, Katherine Rogers and Craig Patterson.