What's This About A Charity Endowment?
The recent issues of Solia have publicized the establishment of The Archbishop's Charity Endowment Fund. In making its decision, the Episcopate Council truly took a bold step. However, creating an endowment specifically to generate funds for charitable purposes is a worthy goal. In fact, it is of the very nature of Christ's Church to help the poor and the needy. We are "to practice Christian charity as demanded by Holy Scripture and Tradition and to seek out and provide charitable assistance to those in need." [Episcopate By-laws]
We all (individually and as parishes) receive requests for charity via direct-mail appeals, personal letters, news media, etc. The validity of each supposed need has to be weighed. Our response has to be weighed against our means. The urgency of one need has to be weighed against another, etc. Ultimately, our decision to act or not is a matter of the heart, because even if our only possible response is a token dollar amount; it is, nevertheless, at least an expression of our good will and our desire to help in some way, a response to Christ's mandate to love and share our blessings with others.
Unfortunately, regardless of its desire, our diocese has never really had the means to even consider the daily pleas it receives for help. Of course, we could never respond to every request. But, our Church can (- and the Episcopate Council feels it must!) provide the means to at least respond in a better, more immediate and efficient way, than has been possible.
When we became aware of the desperate humanitarian needs of people in Romania, following 1989, we established a "Help for Romania" fund. From this, our need to respond to other equally legitimate charitable issues was made even more apparent. Thus, the Department of Christian Assistance came about, and continues to be managed by the Episcopate Council. It has its defined purpose; and, despite extremely limited funds, it still strives to be of benefit.
But, there has always been a real need and desire to respond more immediately to those very personal (and often, necessarily confidential) calls for help. This is the proposed goal of The Archbishop's Charity Endowment Fund. It is meant to be a stable source of income for charitable action; a $100,000.00 fund from which only the interest will be used.
For twenty years, our hierarch has been recognized as a leader among others, a compassionate and trustworthy archpastor, a "Father in Christ." Therefore, establishing this endowment in honor of the Archbishop's Twentieth Anniversary is a small, yet dignified, way to demonstrate our gratitude to God for the years of faithful stewardship His Eminence has shared with us. He is the one who receives the requests and is made aware of various needs. He is the one to whom the hearts of people are opened. He, therefore, can best judge how or if the diocese, his spiritual children, should respond in Christ's name. The Fund will not be his, except to direct the distribution of available interest, according to the guidelines of the Episcopate Council.
This Fund is to be an integral part of diocesan finances. It will be legally audited along with all diocesan funds. The only difference is that in order to respect personal dignity and pride, the names of the grant recipients will be kept confidential, at the discretion of the Archbishop. This is the procedure followed in other Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities that routinely entrust one or more of such discretionary funds to the leadership.
People call on the Church for help - sometimes as a last resort. They turn to the Lord, therefore, hoping and praying that He will help them, through us His Family. Won't you help establish this Fund for that purpose? Needy people are praying, "Lord, listen to my cry for help."
Archpriest Laurence Lazar, Secretary