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The Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC) Board and staff are celebrating an extraordinary 2021 granting season, having awarded a total of $1 million to more than150 applicants.

“There have been past years when AFC’s combined disbursements of grants and loans have hit the million-dollar mark,” says Dr. Scott Brubacher, Executive Director, “but this is the first time in the Foundation’s 65-year history that we have reached that threshold on the strength of the grant program alone.”

“This critical milestone could not have come at a more important time in the life of our Church,” says the Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and Chair of the AFC Board. “The global pandemic has taken a toll on churches and the people and communities they serve. Now, more than ever, we need our Foundation to strengthen and champion mission and ministry at the local level.”

Of AFC’s five key impact zones, the 2021 funding balance saw a significant shift towards community ministries with approximately 44 percent of all grants, nearly $445,000, awarded to this category. Grants for other categories included: leadership and education, diverse infrastructure, Indigenous ministries, and sacred music and liturgical arts.

Pushing the granting program to new heights was the astonishing response to AFC’s Say Yes! to Kids Request for Proposals (RFP). “It was like nothing we’ve ever seen,” says Brubacher. “We knew there was a need, and there were some youth ministry leaders who felt ready to kickstart stalled programs or start new ones.” By working with AFC’s network of diocesan representatives very closely throughout the year, Brubacher explains that AFC understood there was some desire to mitigate the social isolation young people have faced throughout the pandemic.

However, the extent to which church leaders were prepared to champion pandemic recovery efforts in their communities surprised and impressed the AFC Board and everyone on the RFP Committee. “Of course, the scope of the funding request—more than $500,000—demanded an equally unprecedented fundraising effort to say yes to as many of the applicants as possible.”

The AFC Board is grateful for the more than $100,000 raised through the community-based fundraising campaign last spring, for loyal gifts to the annual fundraising program, and for the exceptional leadership gifts that supported the stretch effort to fund as many requests as possible. In the end, AFC was able to fulfill more than ninety per cent of the RFP funding request. “The generosity of our donors was beyond what we could have asked or imagined. It’s only because of them that we were able to award $468,000 to 79 RFPs, while also approving close to an equal number of other regular grant applications.”

Both Archbishop Nicholls and Brubacher want to congratulate the true heroes of AFC’s million-dollar milestone. “Without people and parishes who have a vision for ministry during these challenging times—and the creative and compassionate ways they can strengthen their communities—AFC would not have any projects to fund.”

Brubacher is hopeful that the 2022 granting cycles will be equally impactful. “The Anglican church has a strong heart for community ministry. Many of our churches want to help reconnect friends and neighbours, and support those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. They will need abundant resources to set the stage for pandemic recovery in communities from coast to coast to coast. AFC’s job is to be there to support that.” 

Michelle Houser, AFC Development & Communications Consultant