From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Millions become available in grants for care-giving programs

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Wed, 19 Dec 2001 15:06:37 -0600

Dec. 19, 2001  News media contact: Joretta Purdue7(202) 546-87227Washington

By United Methodist News Service

A national foundation is giving million of dollars to churches and other
religious groups to start programs of volunteer care-giving for people who
are frail, elderly, disabled or chronically ill. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, N.J., has decided to add
$100 million to its Faith in Action program. Of that amount, $70 million
will fund an additional 2,000 grants to new programs that provide help with
everyday activities. Grants are given to local groups of volunteers
representing many faiths and working together.

The foundation, devoted to health and health care, said it hopes awarding
$35,000 start-up grants will encourage churches and other faith groups to
organize coalitions that will coordinate volunteers in providing such

Besides the $70 million in new grants, the remaining $30 million will be
used for communication and technical assistance to old and new grantees.

United Methodist churches provided leadership for two recipient coalitions
in the most recent round of grants, awarded in October.

Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Blissfield, Mich., heads a program to
provide hope, encouragement and practical help to the elderly of
Southeastern Lenawee County. Sherwood (Ore.) United Methodist Church leads a
group organized to provide chore services, transportation, friendly visits
and respite care to frail and elderly adults with chronic health conditions.

Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from serious chronic conditions that
prevent them from carrying out many daily activities for themselves,
according to a study published in 2000 by the Agency for Health Quality
Research. As the nation's population ages, the number of people who will
develop such conditions is expected to increase.

"This new $100 million investment is the largest ever by the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation," said Steven A. Schroeder, a physician and president of
the foundation. "It represents our deep belief that faith-based volunteer
efforts are an effective way to address the growing needs of people with
serious chronic conditions." Faith in Action has mobilized tens of thousands
of volunteers in nearly 20 years of its existence, he reported.
The Rev. Charles A. Parker, a United Methodist and executive director of
Emmaus Services for the Aging in Washington, has personal knowledge of one
such program.

"Six years ago, at a critical point in our organizational development, Faith
in Action provided Emmaus Services with the funding to hire a volunteer
coordinator and to greatly broaden the spectrum of faith communities
involved in our work," Parker said. "Faith in Action has continued to be an
important partner in our growth in the time since then."

He urged congregations to make use of the funding resource as they develop
programs to serve the frail and elderly in their neighborhoods.

"Faith in Action is built on the values that all religions have in common: a
mandate to do good works by helping those who need assistance," said Burton
Reifler, a physician and national program director for Faith in Action, as
he encouraged participation in the program.

The next deadline for grant applications is Feb. 1. For more information,
contact the national program office toll free at (877) 324-8411, or visit on the Web.  

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United Methodist News Service
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