The mission of the Outreach Commission is to study, consider and recommend to the Vestry of St. Mark’s Church, the ways in which parish outreach resources can best be deployed with the objective that St. Mark’s makes a positive impact – in Christ’s name – on the world around us. Our mission is grounded in the mission of the church: Go and make disciples who live a deeper life in Christ, a more holy communion with one another, and a greater love for the world.
The money we use to fund outreach projects is earned at the St. Mark’s May Fair. The May Fair brings together hundreds of volunteers, all working towards the common goal of raising funds to support our Christian outreach. It has been a tradition at St. Mark’s for more than fifty years.
The Outreach Commission considers projects submitted by:
· Internal sources- clergy and staff, Outreach Commission members and interested parishioners.
· External sources- organizations unaffiliated with St. Mark’s Church, seeking funding for their programs.
Guidelines for giving
As we consider grant opportunities we use the following general guidelines to steer the group’s recommendations to the vestry:
• Projects must have a Christ-like mission.
• St. Mark’s parishioners should be active partners in the project.
• Grant applicants will be required to provide measurable outcomes that will be meaningful to the Outreach Commission in the stewardship of parish resources.
Where does the money go?
In the past, St. Mark’s has given generously to organizations such as:
• The Berkeley Divinity School, New Haven, CT
• Bridgeport Rescue Mission Summer Lunch Program, Norwalk, CT
• Child Guidance Center of Southern CT, Stamford, CT
• Community Bridgebuilders, Fairfield County
• Future 5, Stamford, CT
• Getabout, New Canaan, CT
• Meals On Wheels, New Canaan, CT
• Pesticide-Free New Canaan
• Pivot Ministries, Bridgeport, CT
• St. Mark’s EYC Mission Trip
A closer look at some recent recipients:
FUTURE 5 connects low-income high school students to brighter educational and job futures. Through an in-person and online mentoring system, FUTURE 5 encourages teenagers to make the connection between their current high school experience and their own educational or professional goals.
F5 was launched in 2009 by St. Mark’s parishioner Clif McFeely. Since then, the program has served over 200 students with amazing results: of last year’s graduating seniors, 93% successfully transitioned to their post-secondary plan for college, career training, or the military. A dedicated group of 25 volunteer coaches support these students on the road to success – a number of these coaches are St. Mark’s parishioners! Talk to Clif, or anyone on the Outreach Commission, if you are interested in becoming involved with this inspiring project.
The Youth Philanthropy Guild
The St. Mark’s Youth Philanthropy Guild was founded in 2011 with the purpose of engaging the youth of the parish in the charitable giving process. Each year, with the help of Outreach Commission member Gary Ward, this group of teens crafts a mission statement, solicits grant requests, and settles on a detailed allocation proposal for a $5,000.00 fund provided by an Outreach Commission grant. Last year, a group of four St. Mark’s YPG members made grants to five worthy organizations: Pura Vida, Breakthrough Options For Families, Support the Troops Club, Person to Person, and the New Canaan Library. This year, there are 14 YPG members! Stay tuned for exciting news on their plans for this year’s fund.
If you know of a worthy organization that could benefit from a St. Mark’s Outreach Grant, we are always looking to expand the scope of our giving.
Janet Prill, Outreach Commission Chair
Or any of the Outreach Commission members:
Mary Anne Case