Each year, the Envision Grants Board awards grants to serve as seed money for projects that will enrich the ministry and life of the church. These projects serve a wide variety of people, from within the congregation here at Catonsville Presbyterian Church (CPC) to the local, national, and international communities. We evaluate proposals for funding in the categories of Ministry Development, Service in Community, Social Justice Advocacy, and Capital Improvement. The Envision Grants Board is grateful to God for the life and witness of Robert Riley, whose generous bequest to CPC was used to establish the grants, as well as the support of Session (especially the Finance Committee), the congregation, and our church office staff who make these awards possible.
For Spring 2022, the Envision Grants Board had $128,805 available to distribute. During this round, the Envision Grants Board recommended funding seven projects totaling $128,805. Under the approval of Session, all seven projects were funded at the Board’s recommended funding levels. Below are descriptions of each, including the Board’s funding categories that best align with each application, the amount of funding granted, and a synopsis of the intent and reach of the projects.
FIRST FRUITS FARM, GREENHOUSE INITIATIVE (Service in the Community; Local, $20,000, Full funding). Located in Northern Baltimore County, the project will expand First Fruits Farm’s food ministry. The farm works with thousands of volunteers to grow and distribute over 2 million pounds of fresh produce to Marylanders in need every year. The Envision grant will go towards the construction of a 6,000 square-foot commercial greenhouse, to provide an eco-friendly way to expand the farm’s capacity. This application was submitted by Erin Adams-Ports, Director of Development, www.firstfruitsfarm.org, and sponsored by Bob and Tricia Cooper.
CPC MISSION COMMITTEE, MISSION COORDINATOR (Ministry Development; Local, $15,000, Partial Funding). This project will support the creation of a Mission Coordinator, a part-time staff position internally at CPC. Throughout the course of the pandemic the Mission Committee was called to serve in new and different ways. Now that we are all emerging from the pandemic, the Mission Coordinator will guide the Committee and the church through a period of discernment and outreach to coordinate with partner organizations and increase opportunities for members at CPC to explore their calling to service. This application was submitted by the Mission Committee of the CPC.
IMA WORLD HEALTH, MOBILE CLINICS PROVIDING HEALTHCARE TO INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN YEMEN (Service in the Community, International, $42,00, Full Funding). The ongoing civil war in Yemen is now in its eighth year and remains the world’s worst current humanitarian crisis, with over 20 million people lacking reliable access to food, clean water, and healthcare. Eleven (11) million of those people are children. The mobile health clinics will operate primarily in refugee camps across the country and will provide much-needed primary care, reproductive health services, and nutritional interventions to the most vulnerable impacted by the war. The application was submitted by Jennifer Bentzel, Outreach and Engagement Manager, https://imaworldhealth.org, and sponsored by the CPC Mission Committee. This is the first Envision Award supporting a project in the Middle East.
CPC CHILDCARE COUNCIL, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION (DEI) Training (Social Justice Advocacy; Local project; $12,200, full funding). The CPC Childcare Council will work with the Catonsville Presbyterian Church Family Child Care Center (CPCFCCC) to hire a consultant to provide DEI training to the childcare center staff. Additionally, the DEI Trainer will support the Childcare Council over the coming year in evaluating the center’s policies and practices and make recommendations to ensure that the center is welcoming and responsive to the needs of all members of our community. The application was submitted by the CPC Childcare Council.
COVENANT NETWORK OF PRESBYTERIANS, 25TH ANNIVERSARY LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (Social Justice Advocacy; Local project; $7,000, full funding). The Covenant Network is a longtime partner of CPC and has been working tirelessly since 1997 to encourage Presbyterian churches to become more inclusive of LGBTQ persons. The Envision grant will be used to support training that will equip a new generation of congregational leaders to create more inclusive faith communities. The application was submitted by Brian Ellison, Executive Director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, https://covnetpres.org, and sponsored by Rev. Ken Kovacs.
INTERSECTION OF CHANGE, STRENGTH TO LOVE II: URBAN YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE (Service in the Community/Social Justice Advocacy; Local project; $20,000, partial funding). Intersection of Change is a nonprofit community organization in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore. They operate an urban farm with multiple greenhouses on 2 acres of reclaimed vacant lots, employing ex-offenders while providing much-needed fresh food to the community. They are launching a youth program which will educate and train dozens of youth in urban agriculture as well as entrepreneurship and community development. Our award will be used for the construction of a hydroponic greenhouse and purchase of additional supplies necessary for the program. The application was submitted by Brenna O’Grady, Resource Developer, https://s2l2.intersectionofchange.org, and sponsored by Ann Quinn.
SANTI SCHOOL, SANTI SCHOOL PUBLISHING 2022 (Service in the Community/Social Justice Advocacy; International project, $12,605, partial funding). The Envision grant will support the Santi School Project for their children’s book publishing initiative. The Santi School is another longtime partner of CPC that is dedicated to improving educational opportunities for school children in impoverished areas of rural Nepal. This program will promote reading in early childhood education by engaging local school teachers in the creation and publishing of original children’s books, written in Nepali, featuring content that is age- and culturally-appropriate, which is something that is still relatively uncommon in that part of the world. The application was submitted by Chris Heun, Founder, www.santischool.org, and sponsored by Laura Parkhurst.
The Envision Grants Board is truly excited to see God working through these wonderful projects, and thanks all who submitted proposals for their time and effort.