Benevolence Policy

Purpose
The Benevolence Fund is a designated amount within the General Giving fund, specifically established to meet basic needs, further defined in this document. This document is presented in order to guide the Benevolence Overseers and participants and is not intended to instruct all circumstances under which funds may or may not be disbursed from the Benevolence Fund. In addition to this fund, the community at large is encouraged to step out and seek to meet the needs of others.
Oversight and Accountability
The Overseers are accountable and responsible to the Elders. At any given time, the team will consist of at least one elder and one staff. No two family members may participate on the team at the same time. The Overseers are not a fixed number, nor are they expected to serve a specific term. There is no set reoccurring meeting requirement. Email and phone are acceptable conferring methods. The Overseers are expected to be and will be sensitive to confidential issues.
Fund Balance
The source of income for the benevolence fund is currently set as 10% of the general giving, weekly income coming from Sunday Worship Gatherings and online giving. Special offerings are accepted as designated after deliberation of the Elders. As stated in bylaws, the Elders are the only determining group for accepting designated funds.
Guidelines for Disbursement
The Benevolence Fund is to be viewed as temporary assistance in time of great need or crisis. There are no grounds for permanent or expected disbursements. All decisions will be deliberated and searched for dependency-seeking tendencies. The fund is intended to help and will most likely, with minimal variance, be limited to one-time gifts within a one year period. These gifts are not to be considered as loan and can not be paid back, either in money or labor.
Qualifications, Criteria and Limitations
The Overseers assume no set priority in regards to recipients and requests. Regular attendees, members of the community, leaders and staff are at equal liberty to apply. The Overseers are tasked to consult together and pray for direction in prioritizing. As stated, the purpose of the Benevolence Fund is to meet basic needs. A short list may include such things as : food, baby supplies, lodging, transportation, funeral expense, medical aid, professional counsel. Under no circumstance will distribution of funds be a direct payment to an individual. Any fund request over $500 must go through the usual Elder approval process as stated in the bylaws, after it has been approved by the Benevolence Overseers.
Request Process
An Assistance Request Application may be submit by the person in need of help or by someone on behalf of a person in need. It is required to have written record of the request, supporting documents (i.e. power bill, invoice, expense sheet, etc.) and Personal Identification (Driver’s license or other government issued ID).
The review process can take up to one week, although emergency situations can be processed in less time and by-pass process altogether if approved by the Overseers. Accidents, Act-of-God situations and other unforeseen events can be deemed as emergency. Irresponsibility and/or poor habits do not constitute an emergency condition.
It is very likely each request will involve a follow up conversation. All participants involved are to look at each request as an opportunity to invest wholly. Those submitting a need are asked to be willing to give the Overseers permission to follow up on any of the information provided to them.
The person making the request will be informed of the decision within a week’s time.
Disbursement of Funds
The disbursement of funds will typically be in check form or gift card. Checks will be payable to vendors rather than the individual requesting assistance. Cash is not an acceptable form of disbursement.
Post Process
It is to be counted as a joy to take part in the stories of those who find relief and solace from the Benevolence Fund and/or the community at large. We will look for ways to rejoice in God’s provision, being mindful of names and situations and sensitive to confidentiality. It is our heart to share and celebrate this joy as a community, for God’s glory.