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.
St. Mark’s twelve-member Outreach Commission, appointed by the Rector in consultation with the Vestry, recommends projects and funding levels to the Vestry.
Funds are not committed to projects without Vestry approval.
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.
Most projects are local (New Canaan and Fairfield County). When appropriate, the Commission considers projects in other parts of the country as well as foreign countries.
Every year, the St. Mark’s Church community comes together in the name of May Fair—the largest one-day fair in CT! Thanks to money raised at May Fair in the past 5 years alone, over $580,000 has been donated to numerous worthy organizations. The Outreach Commission is charged with assessing grant applications, and making recommendations to the Vestry for distributing these funds.
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 Outreach Commission Mission
To mobilize the time, talent, and treasure of the congregation to live out a greater love for the world through Christ-like service and partnership with people in need.
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.
Recipient Type Total
Where does the money go?
In the past two years*, St. Mark’s has given generously to organizations such as:
• The Berkeley Divinity School, New Haven, CT
• Bishop’s 5K for Kids, Hartford, CT • Bridgeport Rescue Mission Summer Lunch Program, Norwalk, CT
• Child Guidance Center of Southern CT, Stamford, CT
• Community Bridgebuilders, Fairfield County • Episcopal Relief and Development, Sandy Relief • Future 5, Stamford, CT
• Getabout, New Canaan, CT
• Meals On Wheels, New Canaan, CT
• The Warm Up Fund, NC Dept of Health & Human Services, New Canaan, CT
• Norwalk/Nagarote Sister City Project, Nicaragua
• Pesticide-Free New Canaan
• Pivot Ministries, Bridgeport, CT
• St. Mark’s EYC Mission Trip
The table below illustrates how $123,000 Outreach dollars were distributed to 4 types of recipients in 3 geographic categories.
Recipient Type Total
St. Mark’s Projects—2—10%
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 Warm Up Fund, a program of the New Canaan Department of Human Services, provides fuel oil and electricity vouchers to local residents who otherwise could not afford to heat their homes. The Outreach Commission entered a partnership with DHS and The New Canaan Oil Company by providing a significant grant to the fund, as well as offering matching grants to any New Canaan Oil customers who made individual donations. St. Mark’s financial commitment also elicited a significant donation to the fund from the New Canaan Oil Company. We are proud that this creative partnership, and the additional donations it generated, has provided a significant bolster to a much needed and underfunded program in our community.
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.
The Outreach Commission is currently seeking—New members!
We would love for you to join us! The Outreach Commission meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm. We hear grant proposals from various organizations and vote to recommend that the vestry allocate funds to those that meet our criteria. It is a fun and rewarding ministry.
Do 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. Help us connect with new opportunities for giving.
Jenn Hladick, Outreach Commission Chair
(203) 966-4142 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Or any of the Outreach Commission members: