January 16, 2017
Dear Members and Friends at Memorial UCC,
You may recall that one of the things we are doing for our 100th anniversary celebration is creating a Memorial UCC Centennial Outreach Fund – a one-time grant of what we hope will be substantial dollars to one or two local organizations. In November, folks here suggested 18 different organization so seek proposals from and seven of them responded by our deadline on Jan. 13.
Our Centennial Fund task force reviewed them and is submitting four of them for your consideration. We ask you to vote for the one you think best meets the goals we set out – an idea they have for helping others that they have not been able to implement yet, with a focus on helping individuals in need rather than operational expenses. We also asked how they would look at replenishing the Memorial UCC Centennial Fund into the future.
I’d urge you to read the brief description of each proposal below and then go to our online survey to vote for the one you think would be best for us to support. Depending on the amount of funds we raise, we may be able to support two projects. If you would like to read the complete proposals, please email me and I will send them to you.
We will announce the next steps at our annual meeting on Jan. 29.
Thanks for your interest and support.
Madison-area Urban Ministry – A micro-loan program for individuals enrolled in MUM’s prisoner re-entry programs. This will assist with immediate needs (housing, work clothes, car repair), help people who are locked out of credit opportunities and then serve as a credit-reference for those who stay current on their repayments. By repaying the loan (which is capped at $250), participants help sustain the fund for the future. A significant grant would allow MUM to work with a credit union so that applicants would gain a greater understanding of the process of applying for credit, how credit works and the importance of having a credit history.
Madison-area Rehabilitation Centers – MARC is looking at expanding its electronics recycling program known as CyclePoint to two new locations – one in Stoughton, the other in Mt. Horeb. This is a partnership with the federal government to increase employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. Since the original program only began in 2016, MARC needs to purchase additional material and small used box truck for the expansion. This program will enable CyclePoint to increase hours of employment, increase earnings and reduce the number of individuals receiving sub-minimum wages. It will diversify the revenue stream for MARC while reducing dangerous electronics in landfills.
Family Service of Madison – Family Service proposes using Memorial’s seed money to provide at-risk parents, caregivers and families who are receiving traditional individual therapy a supplementary sharing, professionally facilitated forum, to connect with one another and talk about their struggles and successes in an informal, welcoming, interactive and participatory small group setting. Participants will be provided with information and strategies around parenting, child development, and ways to connect with their child. It is anticipated that primary funding will be provided through insurance reimbursements, with supplementary support coming from a designated fund contributed by community donors. Any insurance reimbursements or additional donations to the program received during it’s first year will be deposited in a designated operating reserve for the future of Parent Time.
Porchlight – Porchlight Products is a kitchen and employment training program that employs homeless and formerly homeless people with disabilities with Porchlight food products being sold in area grocery stores. One of their major strategies for increasing sales and hiring more individuals with disabilities is to start a product sampling program in participating grocery stores. This would involve hiring participants to do the in-store sampling, thus expanding job opportunities while helping them develop social and marketing skills. The goal is to hire six individuals to work in a dozen stores for 12 hours a week. This presumably would lead to an increase of sales to help support the in-store sampling jobs in the future.