Faith in Action Grants Program

The Grant Lifecycle

Changing the world—one neighborhood at a time.
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Which Grant is Right for You?

The Grant Lifecycle

The Applications

About Our Grants Program

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Direct Community Service

Direct Community Service Grants


Our Direct Community Service Grants support congregational ministries that provide vitally needed direct services in our communities.

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Which Grant is Right for Your Outreach Ministry?

Prophetic Community Engagement

Prophetic Community Engagement Grants


Our Prophetic Community Engagement Grants support ministry programs that go beyond direct service and build social capital, form community partnerships, increase capacity, and bring about social change.

Examples of Direct Community Service


Direct service programs provide goods and services directly to persons, animals, or the environment in order to address immediate needs. Some examples include:

  • Most food pantries, soup kitchens, & thrift stores
  • Student back-to-school backpack programs
  • Neighborhood coat drives
  • Community park cleanups
  • Christmas gift programs for children in need
  • Making craft gifts for residents of senior living facilities

Examples of Prophetic Community Engagement


Prophetic Community Engagement goes beyond direct service by building community partnerships that work to bring social change. Some examples include:

  • Neighborhood revitalization projects that improve health equity by reducing lead exposure
  • Partnerships between multiple congregations to address housing insecurity
  • Community landscaping projects that build biodiversity and improve the ecosystem of your neighborhood
  • Anti-racism projects that build strategic partnerships to address police violence
  • Partnering with community organizations to host job-readiness programs
  • Increasing civic participation and advocacy to stop voter suppression
Trust

Trust-Based Reporting

Consistent With Our Purpose
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The Living Water Association exists to support and resource congregations. To be consistent with our purpose, we use a reporting structure that is equitable and cedes power to our congregations rather than drawing power, energy, and resources from them. That is why our Faith in Action Grants Program uses a Trust-Based Reporting process.

Maximizing Our Support
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We want to connect and support the on-the-ground work our congregations are already doing. Our reporting process allows us to maximize our support by providing the opportunity to develop closer relationships with the leadership of the ministries we fund.

Not Just Red Tape
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Grant reporting is often seen as bureaucratic red tape. If done well, good reporting goes beyond accountability and provides much-needed insights that can benefit both the Living Water Association and the congregations that our funds support.

No Paperwork Involved
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We want our congregational leadership and volunteers to make the most of the time they spend doing ministry within their community, not spending hours filling out report paperwork.

Addressing the Power Imbalance
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Reporting processes generally emphasize accountability. This leans in the direction of assuming that organizations receiving grant funds are not running trustworthy operations. It is rooted in scarcity thinking rather than generosity and abundance.

The Trust-Based Model
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Inspired by the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, our approach is to build trusting relationships through reporting conversations. This works “to cede power and control toward a more equitable nonprofit-funder ecosystem.”

Trust Hands

The Trust-Based Reporting Process

Step 1:
Pre-Application Conversation


Every grant-seeking congregation is encouraged to contact the Minister of Faith in Action to explore if their ministry endeavor fits either of the two Faith in Action Grant Programs. These conversations are opportunities for building and strengthening covenant relationships and exploring other avenues of support. If a conversation with the grant-seeking ministry leaders has not occurred prior to filing an application, an application follow-up conversation will occur prior to each award decision.

Step 2:
Award Follow-up Conversation


Every award letter should be followed up by a brief conversation in-person meeting (preferred), zoom call, or phone conversation to congratulate the awardee and to set up a further conversation for learning, collaboration, and dedicated support when needed.

Step 3:
Dedicated Support


For each awardee, some form of dedicated support—beyond funding—will be offered, if needed. Because such support can be time- and resource-intensive, the support offered will be reevaluated after each grant cycle.

Step 4:
Milestone/Closeout Debriefs


For each grant awarded, major ministry milestones or project completions should be followed up by a conversation with one or more of the members of the Faith in Action Grant Team.

Step 5:
Publication and Documentation


Throughout the reporting process, information may be requested as needed, with brief written statements and photographs when available, for the purpose of advertising and raising awareness about the Faith in Action Grants Program.

Grants Life Cycle

The Grant Lifecycle

The Pre-Award Phase:


1. Announcement: Each grant cycle begins with an announcement to encourage applications and emphasize the deadlines. These announcements run all the way up to the application deadlines and are included in all communication channels (website, social media, newsletters, team meetings, etc.).

2. Application: As applications begin coming in, the Faith in Action Grants Team will host Pre-Application Conversations with each applicant.

3. Lifecycle Timeline: The diagram above shows how these phases fit within the larger grant lifecycle. (NOTE: The deadline for the Fall 2022 Cycle is November 1.) It should be noted that the existence of a Fall Cycle depends on the availability of funds remaining after the Spring Cycle grants have been awarded.

a. The Spring Cycle: March 15 to May 1 (for Spring 2022).
b. The Fall Cycle: August 15 to November 1

The Award Phase:


1. Review: Having hard application deadlines (May 1/November 1) allows for ample time after the initial announcements for ministry leaders to prepare applications. For any applications received after the due dates, a notice will be sent and the applications will be automatically differed to the next cycle. In such a case, Pre-Application Conversations can begin and other forms of support can be offered. Every effort should be made to host the Pre-Application Conversations prior to each application deadline.

2. Award: The Faith in Action Grant Team will hold its quarterly meeting during the month following the application deadlines to review which grants to award. Once decided, award letters and funding can be sent out immediately. If a conversation with the applicants has not occurred prior to filing an application, an application follow-up conversation should occur prior to each award decision. Finally, a public announcement should go out through all communication channels (website, social media, newsletter, etc.) of all of the grants awarded.

3. Lifecycle Timeline: Diagram 1 below shows how these phases fit within the larger grant lifecycle. It should be noted that the Fall Cycle depends on the availability of funds remaining after the Spring Cycle grants have been awarded.

a. The Spring Cycle: May 1 to June 1 (for the Spring 2022 cycle)
b. The Fall Cycle: November 1 to December 1

Post-Award Phase:


1. Support: Every award letter should be followed up by a brief Award Follow-Up Conversation to congratulate the awardee. These conversations should be in-person when possible. The purpose of the conversation is to create a channel for learning, collaboration, and dedicated support when needed. For each awardee, some form of dedicated support beyond funding should be offered. Because such support can be time and resource-intensive, the support offered should be reevaluated after each grant cycle.

2. Reporting: Following the Trust-Based Reporting Process outlined above, a clear line of communication should be opened between the Faith in Action Grant Team, the Minister of Faith in Action, and the awardee. As explained above, the Trust-Based Reporting Process will not require any formal reports or paperwork. Throughout the reporting process, all information should be compiled as needed, with brief written statements and photographs when available, for the purpose of advertising and raising awareness about the Faith in Action Grants Program. Each grant cycle should contain two Reporting Benchmarks (November 1/May 1). Prior to each benchmark, all relevant documentation and media materials should be compiled into a final report for each grant to be published through all available channels (website, social media, newsletter, etc.)

3. Closeout: The Closeout step is the final step in the grant lifecycle for the awardee. If an awarded ministry plans to re-apply for the same grant the following year, this should be noted. Those awarded grants, if in good standing, and, if approved by the Faith in Action Grant Team, may not need to reapply. Otherwise, at this stage, a Letter of Appreciation should be sent to the awarded ministry by the Minister of Faith in Action expressing gratitude for the partnership and the grant will be considered to have officially ended.

4. Planning: Following the Closeout stage, the Faith in Action Grant Team should dedicate its last quarterly meeting in November to debrief the previous year’s grant cycles and make any adjustments to the process that are needed.

5. Lifecycle Timeline: The Review and Award Phases of the lifecycle are as follows. Diagram 1 below shows how these phases fit within the larger grant lifecycle.

a. The Spring Cycle: May 1 to November 1
b. The Fall Cycle: December 1 to May 1

The Applications

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Apply for a Direct Community Service Grant

Apply for a Prophetic Community Engagement Grant

Which Grant is Right for Your Ministry?

For More Information

Contact Us

For more information about our
Faith in Action Grants Program,
contact:

Rev. Michael Anthony Howard
Minister of Faith in Action
Living Water Association, ONE

e: michael.mfia@livingwaterone.org
p: 330.814.7663