2021 Annual Report Series: The 2021 Annual Grant Process
By UTO Board and Staff
As the UTO Board and staff continue to think back on 2021, we want to share with you our reflections, our successes, our failures, and our goals as we look toward this new year. Each month in the e-newsletter, you’ll find an article from our 2021 Annual Report. Once it is ready, the entire annual report will be shared with you digitally, and a special version will be distributed at General Convention. In the meantime, articles will be posted on our website at https://unitedthankoffering.com/annualreport/.
In 2021, the United Thank Offering annual grant process shifted to address the needs of local communities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards focused on the theme “Recovering with Love and Gratitude: An Episcopal Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Local Contexts.”Because the need was so great, the Board allowed each diocese to submit two applications and for past UTO grant sites to apply for sustaining funds to keep vital ministries running in the wake of closures and job loss.
We awarded the following:
40 grants, for a total of $713,223.40, supported projects in The Episcopal Church. These projects ranged from sustaining important feeding ministries like Charlie’s Place in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington to new programs that brought much needed services safely to participants, from Reading Camp in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington to networking rural congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona.
13 grants, for a total of $213,577.17, supported projects in the Anglican Communion. From generating access to online learning for the most vulnerable children in the Diocese of Amazonia, Brazil, to creating better ways of connecting farmers to the market in the Diocese of North Central Philippines, grants to the Anglican Communion helped communities overcome the challenges of the pandemic in communities where the needs were exacerbated by socioeconomic realities.
This year, the grants helped recipients overcome the challenges of a pandemic through creativity, tenacity, and determination. Many grant recipients found the need to be flexible, as the landscape shifted with new information, vaccinations, and supply issues. The United Thank Offering Board and staff were heartbroken at the grants we could not award due to a lack of funds. In total, 130 applications were received, and all showed just how capable The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion are at seeing the needs in their communities and finding ways to help. While we hope to never have to change the grant focus again due to a global pandemic or other phenomenon, we learned a lot and were grateful for the chance to change the grant process to adapt and respond to the needs of our communities.