Threshing Session on Financial Support of Other Organizations, 2012

Notes taken at Threshing Session on
Financial Support of Other Organizations

April 15, 2012

Attended by: Ramona, Ken, Jim, Jean, Rosemary, Stuart, Terry, Bethanne, Tom, Bill.  Facilitated by the Peace and Social Concerns Committee, which provided these notes.

How can our Meeting support other Quaker and non-Quaker organizations which are in alignment with our values and beliefs?

-“I like this question. It’s more general than financial support. There’s a lot as individuals and a Meeting that we can do…including BYM and other organizations, by our efforts. Working for them, I mean an expenditure of our time. That’s the most important demonstration- with our “feet”. That takes paramount place. I’m very enthusiastic to support friends who are working on a leading that supports other organizations. Time and financially.  The Meeting should support organizations that individuals in the Meeting support.”
-“I support the idea of looking solely at Quaker organizations and groups. If you open it up to all organizations and groups it gets to be too much. I read this question as a Meeting. I look at this as our community.”
-“It’s not clear to me that this Meeting can financially support much beyond the Meeting itself, unless we were to get more money. We have that constraint- how much we can afford to give. I am opposed to giving based on these circumstances.”
-“Having the Meeting hold events and bring in speakers like for the Ramallah School or the Day Resource Center…we provide the venue and the opportunity. That may be a model for what is appropriate for us. Coming to unity on this issue of financial support of other organizations, I too would want to stay with Quaker organizations. I am wanting to hear about our “guiding principles”.
-“In addition to what has been mentioned, one of the most important things we can do to support Quakers and other organizations is offer the opportunity for all of us to learn about what Grassroots or another organization is doing. Regularly inviting groups to come for second hour discussions about what they are doing…set a goal to do that four times a year, builds awareness. Perhaps we can make sure we have people in those roles.”

What is the relationship, if any, of money to our beliefs or leadings?
What should be Patapsco’s guiding principle(s) in determining our financial support or lack of support for other organizations/movements or causes?
What is the significance of Meeting contributions to an organization/movement or cause versus individual Friends’ contributions?

-“We’ve supported PATH for many years. If we have someone participating in that group- I want to support that effort. If we are supporting someone’s leading or project, if we have a member who is following their leading- we should support that. Gunpowder Meeting has a finance committee. They recommend a budget . Part of that is contributions to outside organizations. Their budget is two times ours. Sixteen organizations were mentioned. Most were Quaker organizations. Some were local charities their members work with.”
-“Here’s some history from Sandy Spring Meeting…they would allocate money in their budget to each committee. Then the Meeting might not have even known about the organization that each committee supported. I am not in favor of that. It felt deceptive.”
-“A lot of Quaker organizations would love evidence that they have grassroots support. Even if you give $25 they can use that as evidence that they have widespread support. It doesn’t matter that we have a limited budget. It often doesn’t matter how much or how little. They just need evidence of grassroots support.”
-“I’m glad to have heard this conversation. Now I will contradict what I just said a minute ago! PATH is a great community based faith organization. PATH is getting good concrete results. As a part of the Quaker community in Howard County, it isn’t an individual membership organization. To belong, you have to be a part of a faith community.”
-“Often people want to know what is your base of support.  That in itself opens all kinds of doors. The last three questions are linked for me. The first principle needs to be “What is God calling us to do?” We come together to create a community and in Business Meeting discerning what God is calling us to do as a community. Consider the possibility that God is calling us to be a gathered community to do something. Whether  we follow that individually or corporately. It’s our task to figure out how to accomplish that. Maybe in more ways than one. Maybe if we don’t have enough money in the budget, if we feel a leading, maybe we need to find the money to follow it. Support the activities that individuals are directly involved in takes priority, but shouldn’t be exclusive. It’s okay if no one is involved. It’s okay if we give money anyway. Time is a precious commodity. We may have money but not time. We need to find ways to make sure that what we do is not an “empty form”.  Not falling into the trap: “we give this much because that’s what we’ve always done.” Giving money is a reminder that we have a relationship to that organization, and money is only one way to contribute. “
-“ We are here today, to be invited into a deeper listening. We are not here to arrive at a decision.”
-“I’ve observed over the years the Quaker way when issues of support have come to the attention of the Meeting, money has been found. Without a fundraiser banner, that has happened through the years.”
-“I think it’s important for the Meeting to give a symbolic contribution to Quaker organizations. I don’t think the same level of support is felt on only an individual basis. AFSC, FCNL- it’s a big challenge to raise that money. I’ve felt sad overtime, because we were not able to do that.”
-“It’s important that we support the leadings of the Meeting members. Maybe that’s how God tells us what to do. Maybe we should make it a part of the budget process.”
-“I think the involvement of individuals in the Meeting, in an organization, is important. I don’t know what AFSC is doing…maybe a flyer updating the current concerns and needs. Discerning what God Is leading us to do, as a whole, I think that’s just what we are doing as individuals. The Meeting doesn’t discern, individuals discern.”
-“I’m wondering if we’re at a point for the Meeting to set down some guidelines. If you want the Meeting to support an organization- then inform us, take some action.”
-“General support of Quaker organizations, agree to support them at least at a token level. The alternative: take on a more serious role funding an organization where an individual or individuals have put time into that organization. There are multiple approaches.”
-“Maybe we could have a budget process with a list of guiding principles. Do we as a Meeting want to say “yes” to supporting an organization.

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