In a presentation to Council of General Synod (CoGS) Nov.14, the Rev. Canon Judy Rois and Emily Wall talked about some of the successes the Anglican Foundation has seen in the last year, and explained how much room there is for continued growth in Canada.
Rois, the Foundation’s director, started the presentation on a playful note by giving each member of the executive a small bear wearing the university scarf of the member’s respective alma maters. The bears are part of a fundraising campaign to provide support for a variety of child-related initiatives – from school breakfast programs to support for children in palliative care.
The bears served as a reminder a salient challenge that the Foundation faces: visibility. While the Foundation has existed for over 50 years and has been involved in numerous projects investing in diverse causes, Rois said that she frequently encounters Anglicans across Canada who express surprise when they hear about the Foundation.
The original vision when General Synod, the church’s governing body, decided to create a foundation in 1957 was that each parish would contribute $50 a year. But as Rois pointed out, “the reality is that was a long time ago, so hundreds of Anglicans don’t know they have a Foundation, and the obvious corollary is that they don’t make an annual contribution.”
At present, 279 of Canada’s roughly 1650 parishes and 17 of the 30 dioceses make a donation to the Foundation. Rois expressed her hope that parishes and dioceses would take the original $50 mark as a goal to work toward, and encouraged individuals to give as well.
To give an example of how widespread the Foundation’s work is, Rois gave an outline of some of the projects it has funded over the past year. These included a gathering of clergy, physicians, ethicists and psychiatrists at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto addressing issues of parents and children with disabilities, a gardening project in the diocese of New Westminster, a synod office renovation in the diocese of Rupert’s Land and the construction of the new St. Michael and All Angels church in the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.
In total, the Foundation has provided over $500,000 to projects in the past year, and any parish or ministry project can apply to the foundation for grants and funding.
“It is important to remember,” said Rois, “that Foundation money is your money; it is money you have entrusted to us to receive, to invest, and to disburse.”
Rois and Wall, the Foundation’s project manager, also showed two of the promotional films they have developed to raise awareness about different ways of supporting the Foundation, which can be viewed on their website at anglicanfoundation.org.