Congregational Church grants now total more than $1 M
From Submitted Reports March 13, 2013 12:50PM
Updated: April 15, 2013 11:23AM
ELGIN — The latest round of giving by Elgin’s First Congregational Church means grants since 2001 from the church have now surpassed the $1 million mark.
According to a church press release, First Congregational recently awarded more than $90,000 to 20 separate area social service and arts organizations. Recipients included organizations such as PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), Youth Leadership Academy, and Habitat for Humanity.
“Each year, our church grants an average of $85,000 to organizations that address shelter, hunger, children’s initiatives and creating opportunities for growth and development for underserved populations,” Craig Dresang, chair of the church’s mission grants committee, said in the release.
“Since the fund was established by former congregant George Jehly in 2001, First Congregational has given away more than $1 million to dozens of organizations that have a solid track record. This year, we received 30 requests totaling nearly $250,000.”
Recipients included Administer Justice, All People Interfaith Food Pantry, Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, Centro de Informacion, Community Crisis Center, Elgin Choral Union, Elgin Cooperative Ministry, Elgin Youth Symphony, Food for Greater Elgin, Habitat for Humanity, Kairos Family Center, Koinonia House, Larkin Center, Lazarus House Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter, PADS, Renz Center, and Youth Leadership Academy of Elgin.
The release said that because the Great Recession significantly impacted local residents and nonprofit organizations, the church’s mission grants committee decided to give preference to programs that have a more local impact.
According to Dresang, these included food and shelter for those in financial crisis or homeless, youth programs to combat racism, support and emergency shelter for women and children in crisis, affordable housing creation, and an ex-offender ministry. It also included bilingual family parenting classes, tuition for young people to access arts education, family counseling, and pediatric hospice programming.
First Congregational Church, part of the United Church of Christ denomination, is the oldest church in Elgin, founded by James Gifford who originally settled the city of Elgin in 1835, the release noted.
“Our church is a welcoming, inclusive community of believers,” Dresang said. “We fulfill a mission of reconciliation, love, service to the church, community and world.”
More information on the grant program is at www.fcc-elgin.org.