New direction for Foundation?

Published September 1, 2002

Should the Anglican Foundation, which has been disbursing project grants to Canadian parishes since 1957, build loos or lives? Should it support bricks and mortar or books and minds? Retired bishop Joachim Fricker, who lives in Burlington, Ont., is leading a group called the Commission for the Future Direction of the Anglican Foundation in the 21st Century, which is examining whether the organization should continue to give primary support to church building projects or develop significant changes to its mandate. The foundation’s executive director, Canon John Erb, has often joked that he is called “lord of the loos,” due to the dozens of church bathrooms the foundation has built or renovated. “John takes great pride in the reactive programs of the Anglican Foundation, but when he and I had conversations, he saw the need for the foundation to be more proactive and consider ways it might give support to new initiatives … more than bricks and mortar,” Bishop Fricker said in an interview. In 2001, the foundation received 43 applications for grants or loans and approved 37, awarding a total of $677,213. The foundation’s board appointed the commission last February, giving it 12 months to review the organization and objectives of the foundation and recommend changes. In a report to the May 31 annual meeting of the foundation, Bishop Fricker noted that the commission met in March and April, reviewed the history of the organization and assigned tasks to individual members. One of those members is Rev. Andrew Asbil of Toronto, who noted, “I am looking at the philosophy and core values (of the foundation).” He said the group is considering asking the foundation’s membership for input. In its 45-year history, the foundation has dispersed some $19.7 million. It had 778 members, as of Dec. 31, 2001. The cost of membership starts at $50 per year, and goes as high as $5,000 for a life membership. In 2001, the foundation recorded $4.4 million in revenue, according to the annual report. Total assets as of the end of 2001 were $11.4 million. The foundation also supports native ministry and healing projects, development of church music and art and awards educational bursaries. The foundation may get some ideas for the future from studying the evolution of the Episcopal Foundation, part of the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A., said Bishop Fricker. In late May, Bishop Fricker and Canon Erb traveled to New York City to meet with William Anderson, executive director of the Episcopal Foundation. The U.S. organization “was set up with similar terms of reference but decided that bricks and mortar were the responsibility of the (individual) church. It changed focus radically and now sees itself as a catalyst for new visions of ministry,” said Bishop Fricker. The Episcopal Foundation now supports work in three areas, he said: education, research and development and philanthropy. The members of the commission are: Bishop Fricker, Rev. Asbil, Cynthia Hawkins, Gerald Rayner, Sally Armour Wotton, Michael Patterson and Harold Corrigan. Canon Erb and Canon Gordon Baker, a former director of the foundation, are ex officio members.


  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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