Congregations have until March 3 to apply for Good Samaritan Grants to help them develop new programs and services for immigrants and refugees.
Wheat Ridge Ministries of Itasca, Ill., and Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service co-sponsor the annual program that awards up to $5,000 to each recipient congregation for “vital support services needed by deserving immigrants and refugees beyond the initial stages of resettlement,” according to an Oct. 18 news release announcing the 2008 grant program.
For 2007, the Good Samaritan Fund awarded seed grants totaling $74,900 to 23 congregations to start programs including citizenship classes, literacy projects, children’s summer and after-school programs, driver’s education, and employment and entrepreneur training. Since the program began in 1999, 143 Lutheran congregations have received $684,000 in the grant program that “focuses exclusively on congregationally-based work that is directed to immigrants and refugees,” as stated in the release.
Good Samaritan seed grants are awarded to congregations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Each congregation receiving the award is expected to contribute at least one-fourth of the cost of its project, either through cash or in-kind support.
As listed in the news release, funding priority will be given to projects that demonstrate at least one of the following services to immigrant communities:
- social ministry projects.
- joint projects between community members and new residents.
- public education or advocacy.
- leadership development within the ethnic groups served.
To download the grant application packet or review grant guidelines, go to www.lirs.org. For more information about the Good Samaritan Grant program, contact Brian Becker, Wheat Ridge Ministries vice president for Ministry Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 762-6748.
The program’s fund is built by donations from congregations and individuals. Gifts may be mailed directly to Wheat Ridge Ministries, One Pierce Place, Suite 250E, Itasca, IL 60143; made via credit card by calling (800) 762-6748; or donated securely online at www.wheatridge.org.
The Good Samaritan Fund was established in honor of the late Dr. August Bernthal, an LCMS pastor who was considered a pioneer in advocating refugee resettlement among LCMS congregations. Wheat Ridge Ministries is an LCMS Recognized Service Organization. LIRS is a cooperative agency working on behalf of the Synod and the other two Lutheran church bodies mentioned above.
Posted Nov. 6, 2007