Following a generous bequest from longtime church member Robert Riley, the Envision Fund was established in 2013. As stated in the original guidelines, the intention of the fund was to extend the church’s mission and ministry. In the years since it was established, the Envision Fund has awarded more than $500,000 to projects locally, nationally, and globally, with a balance between internal and external.
As part of the guidelines, it was agreed that the Envision Fund would reevaluate after seven years. Accordingly, a Task Force was established in late 2019, and Session heard the report in 2020. From which came the following actions to enhance the function and effectiveness of the Envision Fund.
■ The Session will set priorities for CPC’s mission and ministry annually, and communicate them to the boards and committees so that objectives of all CPC entities can be coordinated and consistent. Envision applications from church boards or committees will now be screened by Session before being submitted to the Envision Board to ensure they are consistent with church mission and ministry priorities.
■ A restriction in the original guidelines prohibited investment funds from supplement- ing the program and budget of the church. The guidelines will be amended to remove this prohibition in order to permit funding of occasional large projects that do not fall under the Operating Budget system. The recent roof replacement project is an example.
■ Capital Improvement will be removed as an Envision funding category, as it is now included as a line item in the Investment Budget. The Envision funding categories will now be renamed Ministry Development, Service in Community, and Social Justice Advocacy.
■ The Envision Board is being reduced from nine members to seven, with the elimination of representatives from the Deacons and Trustees.
■ Several changes have affected the application process for Envision funding:
- Internal projects must now be sponsored bya church committee or board, not an individual. An individual with an internal project idea will work with a sponsoring church committee or board to prepare the application.
- A committee or board sponsor of an internal project must submit its proposal to Session before the application deadline.
- There will be two types of applications, one for internal projects and one for external projects.
- Applicant interviews will no longer be held, i.e., funding decisions will be based solely on the information on the application form.
- Applicants for multi-year projects will be advised that there is no guarantee of funding after the first year of a multi-year project.
■ In order to avoid conflicts of interest, an Envision Board member or a working group member who is advocating for a proposal must recuse themself from the Envision Board for that funding cycle. The Board may recall a former Board member to serve in the vacancy.
■ The Envision Board must advise the Nominating Committee in writing of the responsibilities of serving on the Envision Board, so that nominees have a realistic expectation of the obligations involved in serving on the Board.
■ Visibility of the Envision Fund and Envi- sion projects will be increased with year-round publicity about current projects, increasing the understanding about the function and purpose of the Envision Fund. A special presentation will be made to the senior high Sunday school class describing the Fund and encouraging the youth to apply.
■ There will be a meeting held to inform the congregation of the changes to the Envision process in the future so that people can ask questions and better understand the process of submitting a proposal.
The Envision Task Force was extremely impressed with the work of the Envision Board over the years. The Task Force felt that the Board had been diligent in deliberations and funding of projects and that the process has evolved and improved. These changes will further enhance that evolution. Much good is being done in the world thanks to the work of the Envision Board and the work of the Fund.