Dear sister and brother missionaries,

I know that is NOT how the song goes!   And I also am pretty sure that the Wise Men were not submitting grant applications either 😊.

BUT, I do believe there are at least two reasons to reflect on during this Advent/Christmas Season that each of you are like Magi as you write grant applications for your projects:

First, each of you, like the Magi, offer great gifts in the deeply important projects you “give” to a foundation to consider:  the GOLD of the boys and girls your projects assist;  the MYRRH of the health clinics and schools you offer;  and the FRANKINCENSE of your pastoral and prayerful works.   Any good foundation officer is always humbled by how much good he or she is being asked to support.

“Dear missionaries,

“Sustainablity”  A sophisticated and popular word these days, but one with a simple definition:  “How we keep our projects going in the future.”  The attached document from the UN identifies the key principals we need to bring to our work insofar as we envision our ministries lasting not only during our lifetimes but even longer.  I encourage you to share this with your congregational leadership in hopes it will stimulate the type of leadership decisions necessary for the years ahead!”

Effective Governance for Sustainable Development

“Is there a Local Contribution?”  

This is the question that every missionary should ask her or himself when completing an application for a project grant.   If there is not a specific line on the application itself for this information, be sure to announce your “local contribution” as early in the application as appropriate.

The Unmet Need

I spoke recently with a foundation director who returned from a visit to India, where he spent time at several locations, visiting with a variety of missionaries. One can only imagine that his head was/is spinning, but not from the noise and crush of people in India. Rather, it was the enormous number and variety of project needs that were voiced to him that was at once encouraging and discouraging: encouraging to see all the good work being proposed, discouraging to know that his foundation could only fund a small fraction of the total number of projects.

What to do? How to decide as a grant maker?   How to distinguish yourself as a grant seeker?