All Souls/Beckner Advancement Fund

About the Beckner Advancement Fund

All Souls Church Unitarian has a long history of working for social justice and fighting against oppression of all kinds. Our proud tradition of public witness here in the nation’s capital dates back to standing against slavery and continues to this day. For almost two centuries, the congregation has worked to make our city, our nation, and our world more just and compassionate.

All Souls members Earl and Meta Beckner endowed the Beckner Advancement Fund in 1973. The Deed of Gift states their desire to “make the Church and surrounding community more cohesive, attractive, and forward-looking; foster human rights and dignity; and enhance the influence of All Souls Church in the Washington metropolitan area.”

Grounded in commitment to social-change philanthropy, the Beckner Advancement Fund distributes about $70,000 each year to support efforts that advance All Souls’s social justice mission. The Beckner Advancement Committee, made up of All Souls members, the senior minister, and coordinated by a program officer, manages the Fund and advises the church’s Board of Trustees, who make the decisions for the Beckner Advancement Fund. Internal grants fund the church’s own social justice activities, and external grants support DC organizations that address urgent and compelling social justice issues from the community. as identified the following social justice priority areas.

  • Safe, affordable housing
  • Environmental justice
  • Peace and reconciliation
  • Immigration
  • Anti-oppression efforts, including racial and ethnic justice

Internal Grants

Internal grants typically range from $500 to $5,000.

Eligibility

The Beckner Advancement Fund Committee awards internal grants to All Souls Church groups and committees for projects that have not already happened before the application is submitted and that:

  • support the social justice focus of All Souls Church;
  • educate the congregation;
  • help draw people of all ages and backgrounds to All Souls Church; and/or
  • build the advocacy and activism skills of our congregation.

How to Apply

Complete the Internal Grantee Application, including the cover page, narrative, and budget. Then submit all documents via email to the Committee (ascu.beckner@gmail.com). We accept electronic signatures. Whenever possible, please combine all documents to submit as a single file. Please note that the Committee will not review documents that are submitted late or in hard copy.

Timeline

The Beckner Advancement Fund Committee considers applications for internal grants in two cycles.

Application Step

Timeline

Round 1

Applications due by 5pm

Friday, December 1, 2017

Applicants notified of funding decisions

January 2018

Funds disbursed

No later than January 31, 2018

Reporting requirements due

Within 30 days of completion of event/project, no later than January 2019

Round 2

Applications due by 5pm

Friday, April 27, 2018

Applicants notified of funding decisions

June 2018

Funds disbursed

No later than June 30, 2018

Reporting requirements due

Within 30 days of completion of event/project, no later than June 2019

Given the current climate, the Beckner Advancement Fund Committee recognizes that social justice needs change frequently. In addition to these planned grant cycles, the Committee has set aside some funds for rapid response requests, keeping in mind that the Committee meets monthly.

All grantees must report back to the Committee at the conclusion of the grant period.

External Grants

Most external grants provide up to $10,000 to be spent on projects within one year. The Committee will only fund projects that have not already happened before the application is submitted. In many cases, partnerships between grant organizations and All Souls church groups can strengthen community relationships and increase the impact of funded projects. The Committee encourages such partnerships whenever they are possible and mutually desirable.

Eligibility

All applicant organizations must:

  1. have 501(c)3 nonprofit status (or a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor); and
  2. be located in DC.

The Fund prioritizes proposals for organizations and projects that:

  1. demonstrate significant ties to Ward 1 neighborhoods and residents (where the church is located);
  2. are facilitated by small, grassroots organizations;
  3. address root causes of social service needs (rather than providing direct services);
  4. actively engage the community they serve in developing program strategies;
  5. effectively measure their success (or are building systems to do so);
  6. seek support for new initiatives or for project components that build capacity of existing programs;
  7. demonstrate willingness to educate and include All Souls members in their work for social change; and
  8. have existing relationships with All Souls Church or its members.                      

The Fund will not consider requests to fund individuals, sectarian programs that promote religious doctrine, or organizations that ask for more than 10% for general operating support.

How to Apply

The Fund has designed a streamlined process to accommodate the many requests it receives for its limited resources. Prospective grantees submit a short pre-application form in lieu of a traditional Letter of Inquiry (LOI). After reviewing the pre-applications, the Committee invites full proposals from selected organizations. Note that during proposal review, the Committee may schedule informal interviews or ask for additional information as needed.

Prospective grantees must submit all documents via email to the Committee (ascu.beckner@gmail.com). We accept electronic signatures. Whenever possible, please combine all documents to submit as a single file. Please note that the Committee will not review documents that are submitted late or in hard copy.

Timeline

The Committee will make every attempt to follow the general timeline below. Please keep in mind that Committee members are volunteers and adjustments may become necessary.

Application Step

Timeline

Pre-applications due by 5pm

Friday, January 26, 2018

Committee notifies applicants of decisions to decline or invite to complete full proposals

February 2018

Full proposals due by 5pm

Friday, March 23, 2018

Applicants notified of final funding decisions

April 2018

Funds disbursed

May 2018

Reporting requirements due

Within 30 days of completion of event/project

For each grant request approved, the applicant will receive an award letter stating the amount of the grant, the period for which the funds are available, and any special conditions under which the award is made. All grantees must report back to the Committee at the end of the grant period.

2016-17 Grantees

Internal Grants

  • Stories to Tell. Digital oral histories and a documentary of 40 long-time African American members of All Souls Church who have stories to tell about their experiences as black members of All Souls and the church’s role in pursuing racial justice in Washington DC and nationally.
  • American Sign Language Interpretation. Pilot program to provide the Deaf and Hard of Hearing access to worship services and participation in church activities for one year in order to assess interest and support.
  • Community Empowerment Network Haiti. An innovative online platform where Haitian community members identify their needs in a model program and are connected to partners, expertise, and resources through a network developed by the UUA among others.

External Grants

  • Community Food Works. Pioneering food access program in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood that serves families that, due to their immigration status, are hindered from receiving Federal Food Assistance.
  • Interfaith Power & Light. Translation of materials into Spanish to advance climate justice by fully engaging the vibrant Latino faith communities of Ward 1 to help shape forward-looking environmental policies.
  • Many Languages One Voice. Prepared local resistance trainings for our local immigrant communities to resist the repression of communities of color in the current political climate.
  • Trabajadores Unidos de Washington DC. Built a local campaign to confront aggressive policies aimed at deporting undocumented immigrants in DC by building a pro-immigrant community coalition.
  • Washington Peace Center. Expanded their current racial justice work to incorporate xenophobia and Islamophobia, providing rapid response convening spaces for the local community leaders to collaborate and coordinate efforts, and to provide more training capacity for the local racial justice movement organizations.

Questions?

If you have further questions, you may contact All Souls’ Minister of Social Justice Rev. Rob Keithan (rkeithan@allsouls.ws; 202-517-1468).