The Special Grants program was initiated by a vote of the congregation in 1996. A percentage of the unrestricted endowment income is allocated annually for a Special Grants program, to be administered by a grants committee reporting to the First Church Cabinet.
2013 Special Grants
CASA BUILDING FUND The grant will provide financial support for an orphanage in Colima, Mexico which unexpectedly lost 80% of its funding for six months. The funding has now been restored but the grant monies will help with the backlog of maintenance and, if any is left over, help with installation of a water purification and solar energy systems.
CAMPAIGN FOR SOUTHERN EQUALITY The grant will help the WE DO Campaign across 8 southern states, which highlights discriminatory state laws and calls for full federal equality for LGBT people, particularly as it relates to the granting of marriage licenses. Specifically the money will go for video production to help build a national audience of support for federal equality.
MASS. GENERAL HOSPITAL COMFORT/PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY The grant will provide start-up funds to purchase supplies for a comfort/prayer shawl ministry at Mass General. Patients who are far from home and their own spiritual community will receive shawls during their hospitalization.
HOPE AND FRIENDSHIP METASTATIC BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION FOR MEN AND WOMEN Start-up funds for a new support group for men and women in the northeast region of MA with Stage 4 breast cancer.
NEW THING This program brings over 150 tons of donated urgently needed goods to Belarus, one of the most impoverished economies in Europe. They work with orphanages, hospitals, prisons, juvenile detention centers, senior centers and asylums for the mentally ill. The fund is administered by Doug Brendel in Ipswich, and we are leading the way in introducing the concept of support from churches.
SITKA FINE ARTS CAMP – ALLEN THEATER RESTORATION The Sitka, Alaska Fine Arts Camp serves over 700 children and 500 adults. They are trying to rebuild the Allen Theater and so far have over 25,000 volunteer hours which have been given. The funds will be used for materials for restoration.
Si Nicaragua This grant will help fund a trip organized by local HWRHS teacher Kean Sano, who takes small groups of high school students to Granada, Nicaragua in the summer. As the community service portion of the trip the students work with a local soup kitchen to provide services to local needy children. This year they hope to give each child a backpack with a pair of shoes, a set of clothes, dental supplies and school supplies.
Wenham War Memorial The grant will help fund a new war memorial being erected on the Car Barn Lot across the street from the church. It will honor all veterans who entered the service from Wenham.
Hamilton-Wenham Community Library Money from this grant will fund a special program to educate and promote anti-bullying. Brett Outchcunis will present his motivational program “Positive Spin” to children ranging from Kindergarten through 8th grade and their families during February Vacation week.
Wenham Housing Authority This request was for supplies and repairs for the community gardens and greenhouse at Enon Village, specifically for compost, replacement of worn hoses and spray attachments, replacement plexi-glass windows, and a new door.
Rev. Fongai Mutsumbei Rev. Mutsumbei is a UCC of Zimbabwe pastor, who is currently studying at Andover Newton Theological School for two years, so he can go back to Zimbabwe and help lead the UCC church there. He has faced persecution and physical abuse in his homeland, but retains a love for it and for his Christian mission. The grant will go towards his educational and living expenses this year.
Second Chance Africa Second Chance Africa offers free mental health services for survivors of war and conflict in Liberia. Their mental health projects have reached out to over 500 war survivors, promoting healing and awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and drug dependence, and preventing child abuse. This program was started by Jana Pinto, a member of our church.
Université Chretienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) The Bilingual Christian University of the Congo Library currently serves the university, but also the larger community by providing training and resources for area pastors, church leaders, community and health workers, and primary and secondary teachers. No other educational institution within a 40 mile radius (with a population of around 1 million) has a library or internet access. The grant will help train library staff and the faculty to learn information literacy, library research, and library management skills.
Family Promise North Shore Boston FPNSB is part of a national network to provide temporary shelter and hospitality for homeless families in churches and synagogues. First Church has been a leader in starting the network on the North Shore. This grant will help get the program started.
A LIGHT FOR ZIMBABWE Funds will be used to start a sewing class for young girls at a secondary school. These girls are particularly vulnerable to exploitation if they can’t support themselves through education or a trade.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED FILM Funds will be used to teach professional documentary filmmaking with a focus on local social and economic issues to 10 members of the Chelsea, MA community – predominantly refugees and new immigrants.
CONGO INITIATIVE Funds will be used for a facilitator’s travel and living expenses. The purpose of the facilitator’s trip is to implement an integrated faculty development plan that calls for workshops, study groups, and individual coaching for Christian Bilingual University of Congo Teachers.
Miles River Middle School BEST BUDDIES Funds will be used to help pay for the costs of monthly chapter events at the Miles River Middle School. The Best Buddies program provides opportunities for students with intellectual and similar disabilities to form friendships with typical peers that do not always form naturally.
HAMILTON WENHAM COMMUNITY GARDEN AT DODGE FARM Funds will be used to purchase materials such as cedar lumber for accessible beds (raised beds that are high enough for someone in a wheelchair or for someone who finds it difficult to bend down to tend a plot), season-extending materials for hoop houses ad lumber and roofing to construct a small shed.
ACORD FOOD PANTRY Funds will be used to help continue a summer and school vacation lunch program for children that receive free or reduced price lunches at school but no support when not in school.
COMMUNITY GIVING TREE Funds will be used to pay an adult to supervise a new program called VolunTEEN. Students aged 13-17 will help sort and repackage donations twice a week after school and run a new social enterprise initiative called ‘Twice Loved Toy Sales’.
Click here to download the 2013 Application
Special Grants Committee,
Bob Swisher, Debby Twining and Carol Merriman