Wednesday, August 8, 2012
It took letters to donors, fundraising events, specialized newsletters and the unsolicited donations of strangers, but six local nonprofits have raised more than $1.2 million in new money after being issued a fundraising challenge from Covenant Values Foundation earlier this spring.
In March, Covenant Values Foundation founders Carey V. Brown and Steve Steele launched their nondenominational Christian philanthropy organization with a pledge to donate $1 billion to help “the least of these” across Chattanooga and the world. They began that mission by offering six matching grants of up to $100,000 to local organizations.
“The purpose of the matching grants is to provide much-needed financial resources to charitable organizations working daily to better the community and world and to enable and encourage them to seek new donors,” said Steele, who now serves as Covenant Values Foundation’s executive director. “Together we are building a broader foundation of support for worthy causes and, hopefully, inspiring more people to a lifetime of giving.”
Of the six organizations that received matching grants and raised at least $100,000 to couple with the grant, three of them are located in downtown Chattanooga.
Chattanooga Community Kitchen
Since its creation in 1982, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen has become a trusted member of Chattanooga’s nonprofit community. Originally a feeding program for the homeless and needy, the organization has grown to encompass an entire city block and offer services that range from daily meals to job and life skills training.
Last year’s fundraising efforts garnered the kitchen $60,000 in funds, but with the help of Covenant Values Foundation’s matching grant the Chattanooga Community Kitchen was able to raise nearly nearly $145,000, according to Executive Director Charlie Hughes.
“Thanks to Covenant Values Foundation our yearly fundraising efforts were actually fun this time, not just hard work,” Hughes said. “The timing of the matching grant was impeccable. As any nonprofit can attest, the summer months are the hardest in terms of fundraising. From a financial standpoint, the matching grant has made this summer a little different from most summers in the past. Instead of looking at where we have to cut, we’re now looking at what more we can do to help the community.”
Some of that help for the community came in the form of air conditioning, as the matching grant enabled the Chattanooga Community Kitchen to replace several heating and cooling units that had broken simultaneously. Hughes said the nonprofit also plans to use the money to “raise levels of service and better meet the needs of the rapidly increasing homeless population in Chattanooga.”
Teen Challenge of the Mid-South, an organization that works to provide a faith-based solution to drug and alcohol abuse, raised a total of $170,000 of new money which it will pair with the matching grant.
“To have Covenant Values Foundation step forward like this with such a sizable gift, it’s a surprise, blessing and encouragement all wrapped into one,” said Roger Helle, executive director of Teen Challenge of the Mid-South. “There’s no way we can adequately communicate our gratitude to Covenant Values Foundation. I pray that God will bless them so they have the resources to continue to impact the faith-based community here in Chattanooga and beyond.”
According to Helle, the pot of funds will go to the nonprofit’s scholarship program that provides students with a yearlong residential stay. The daily program at Teen Challenge includes work activities, outreach opportunities and personal or group studies. Financial gifts like that offered by Covenant Values Foundation are crucial to help Teen Challenge continue reaching people who often “have nowhere else to go and have run out of hope.”
As the fiscal year drew to a close earlier this year, officials at Tennessee Temple University weren’t sure whether or not the school would meet regional accreditation. In order to qualify for that qualification, TTU, along with all other academic institutions, must have three years in a row in the black. The matching grant from Covenant Values Foundation spurred giving and helped the university get back on track, according to TTU officials.
“This was more than a gift,” said school President Dr. Steve Echols. “It was inspiration for many of our people. It encouraged us and let us know that God really will provide. For a new foundation to step forward and say we’re worthy of their help has made a huge statement to us.”
According to Echols, the funds will help “implement some much-needed campus improvements, including the renovation of on-campus housing.” The money will also assist in funding overall operation costs for the university and the community programs it provides.
Tennessee Temple was founded in 1946 and currently has more than 1,000 students enrolled.
Covenant Values Foundation also provided matching grants to North Hamilton’s On Point, East Hamilton’s Precept Ministries International and the Dawson McAllister Association.
Check out the online editions of the East Hamilton and North Hamilton Community News for information on how those organizations will use the funds they received with the matching grant.
For more information about Covenant Values Foundation visit www.covenantvalues.com.