By Carolyn B. Dun, Community Purse Founder
“Fundraising is first and foremost a form of ministry… Fundraising is as spiritual as giving a sermon, entering a time of prayer, visiting the sick, or feeding the hungry.” Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Spirituality of Fundraising
Community Purse is a giving circle that serves our neighbors by offering grants to area nonprofits. Henry Nouwen’s book inspired me to think about Community Purse not only as a giving circle, but also as an organization devoted to fundraising as an expression of spirituality.
As a group, we are able to provide more impact than any one of us could contribute on our own. When Jesus fed five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, he showed us how God’s love can multiply the effects of our generosity (see Matthew 14:13-21). In just over 2 years, our members have seen how individual donations are amplified when we work together as a group. Since we just completed our tenth meeting, each Community Purse member has donated $1000 in total. This has become $145,000 collectively. Our fundraising ministry has:
- Provided shelter to abused women and children
- Enriched the lives of people with developmental disabilities
- Hired a client services coordinator for a mental health service provider
- Funded after school tutoring and summer lunch program
- Supplied emergency care needs to children and families
- Freed people from gangs
- Mentored young mothers
- Created a new equine therapy program for people suffering from anxiety and depression
Our members are busy women who care deeply about our neighbors and sincerely want to help, but individually are all pressed for time with work and family obligations. Our giving circle beautifully addresses this challenge because our meetings are kept to one hour and we meet just four times a year. Over two years, we have heard from 24 different local charities. So, in a short amount of time, each member has become more knowledgeable about opportunities to serve and give in her community.
We also invite our members to discover a new way of relating to their money. Each member commits to $100 a quarter, whether or not she can be at the meeting and cast a vote for the charity. This financial commitment amounts to a little over a dollar a day. We educate our members through our blog and social media pages to be good stewards of their resources, which allows each of them to find ways to save $1 over 100 days. Through our giving circle, we give our members the opportunity to allocate some of the resources God has given them to advance the love of Christ.
The Bible is very clear about God’s concern for the poor. “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Deuteronomy. 15:11). At Community Purse, we strive to use our generosity to open our hands to the poor and needy around us. We believe in this purpose so strongly that it is reflected in our logo, our mission, our social media, and our outcomes. We welcome new members and we have the resources to open new chapters. If you are interested in learning more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org