Funding interfaith projects is a difficult challenge

pennies“Relishing fundraising may be the rarest character trait of all among faith-based and interfaith leadership groups.” So writes the Rev. Paul Chaffee in his editorial introduction to the most recent issue of “The Interfaith Observer (TIO) ” that is devoted to the challenges of finding funding for interreligious efforts at education, advocacy and service.

The issue is not unique to interfaith work. A vintage cartoon that I kept under the blotter on my desk for many years showed Moses standing in the desert, holding the two tablets of the Ten Commandments. He is looking to the sky and asking, “But what about funding?” The resources for supporting community efforts is often hard to come by.

Articles in the journal include an introduction to the work of Lynne Twist, author of the 2003 book, The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources. Twist’s book invites the reader to reflect on their attitudes toward money, and how to move from a feeling of scarcity to a sense of abundance. Lynne Twist was interviewed by Rev. Charles Gibbs of the United Religions Initiative in 2011, and the video can be found here.

Bud Heckman, advisor to Religions for Peace USA, weighs in with some of the challenges facing interfaith efforts, while J. Andreas Hipple brings his perspective as a Senior Advisor to the GHR Foundation to explain what foundations are looking for in fundable programs and projects.

A “Lean Startup” approach that requires less funding overall? Funding interfaith work on a global scale? Offering books or even “Golden Rule” license plates? Finding donors that include individuals, congregations, denominations, foundations, and faith-based service organizations? These are just some of the experiences and challenges described in the issue. Anyone working in multi-faith contexts who has wondered about how to find financial support will benefit from this month’s issue.

TIO is an independent monthly online journal devoted to investigating the interfaith movement worldwide and lifting up stories of action, collaboration, and relationship-building. Contributors to TIO include over 200 local activists, thinkers, and organizers committed to interfaith cooperation. (Full disclosure: I am a contributor to TIO).

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