From 2016 to 2018, close to $500 thousand in juried grants were disbursed through the Vision Fund to “faithfully seed local, regional and diocese-wide initiatives that give tangible expression to the Diocesan Vision.” Vision Fund 1.0 was a one-time undertaking, which was deemed to be very successful. From the outset, it anticipated a future fund-raising campaign that would allow the work to continue over the longer term. Synod 2018 ratified that initiative, under the title of Transforming Futures.
Under Transforming Futures, parishes will raise an additional 115% of one year’s annual givings over a three-to five-year period. 60% of those additional funds will remain in the parish to support projects consistent with the diocesan Vision and the Season of Discipleship. Many of these projects will likely be similar to those supported by Vision Fund 1.0. It is anticipated that over the next five years, most parishes in the diocese will participate in Transforming Futures. More about Transforming Futures can be found here.
The Five-Year Financial Plan presented and approved at Synod 2018 contemplates a second and slightly different set of Vision Fund grants. The money for Vision 2.0 will come from the 40% share of Transforming Futures revenue that is managed at the synod office. Resources will also be set aside for the work of the Vision Implementation Teams and other special purpose funds to support specific aspects of the diocesan Vision.
Diocesan Finance Committee and Diocesan Council have approved a minimum financial commitment of a total of $50,000 in 2019 toward Vision Fund 2.0 grants, with the potential for this to increase to a maximum of $100,000, depending on the progress of the first Transforming Futures projects. It is anticipated that funding levels in future years will fall in a similar range.
As noted above, many of the initiatives supported by the Vision Fund in its initial years were single-parish projects of the sort that are now contemplated under Transforming Futures. However, there is a real need to prepare parishes for success in their new efforts, and to encourage them to come together to work towards objectives that are regional in scope, or transcend parish boundaries.
At the same time, the bishop has declared a Season of Discipleship, which is predicated on the question posed to each of us, “What is the Gospel (Jesus) calling us to do?” How can we raise up the ministry of all the baptized, through lay ministry and leadership formation, through youth and family life, and through the encouragement of an individual and collective spiritual rule or rhythm of life? The Vision Fund seeks to enable create ways to do just that. Read about the funding guidelines here.