The Collection Box: A Roundup of News on Religion and Nonprofits

News from around the religious nonprofit world:
  • Churches seek “new normal”: While many churches say donations are increasing, a new poll shows that most are facing a new economic reality, says The Christian Post. A survey of more than 1,000 churches released Monday by the group LifeWay showed that nearly 75 percent of churches raised enough to meet their budget requirements so far in 2011. But demand for social-services aid is so high that many churches say they still can’t meet demand, so the…

Jewish Nonprofit Record Label Will Close

The nonprofit record label that discovered the Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu will soon close its doors.

JDub Records, which was created in 2002, was hailed as a new breed of Jewish nonprofit that would rely on popular culture to reach young people. It put out 35 albums, released three gold records, and drew more than 150,000 young Jews to its concerts and parties over the past nine years, according to a news release that announced the closing.

It also had a hand in creating and popularizing seve…


A Christian Group Seeks to End Extreme Poverty

Some 138 million Christians live in the United States—and they collectively earn $2.4-trillion per year. If each one of those people just slightly increased the amount he or she gives each year, they could eradicate extreme poverty by 2035, says the leader of a Christian organization that is looking to fight poverty.

This is the thinking behind “58,” a new effort backed by 10 major nonprofits. The project will be led by Scott Todd, a senior adviser at Compassion International, one of the org…


Many Young Jews Volunteer but Rarely in Faith Projects

About 80 percent of Jews age 18 to 35 have engaged in volunteer work during the past year, but by and large their volunteerism has been infrequent and not related to their faith, according to a new study.

The study, commissioned by Repair the World, a group that works to promote volunteerism among Jews, surveyed roughly 1,000 young Jews last fall and is believed to be the first in-depth look at volunteerism within a faith group, according to Jon Rosenberg, Repair the World’s chief executive. Man…


At One Charity, Religious and Secular Approaches Both Work


Carla Rodrigues, a residential aide at Miami Rescue Mission’s Center for Women and Children, walks a fine line between the practical part of her job–helping the homeless get off the street permanently–and her religious desire to help her clients find Jesus.

She wants the women and children who are full-time residents at the mission to turn around their lives, to find jobs and permanent homes. But she admits that she finds it “sad” when she cannot also bring them closer to Jesus.

“As long…


Washing the Feet of the Homeless


For many homeless people, life on the streets is hard on the feet.

Yet the Friday before Easter I witnessed a group of religious volunteers here doing something that I never thought imaginable—washing those feet and caring for them.

Nearly 2,000 of Miami’s homeless shuffled through the three campuses of the Miami Rescue Mission and its Broward Outreach Centers on Good Friday for the group’s annual “Thanksgiving in April,” a block party open to the more than 8,000 people who are hom…


Congregations, Hit Hard During the Recession, Begin Recovery

Though religious congregations are slowly recovering from the recession, many groups are still feeling the pain, according to a new study.

The study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, in Hartford, Conn., combined the results of 26 polls taken to show the effects of the downturn and also analyzed data from more than 11,000 congregations.

It found that more than 40 percent of these congregations reported that their finances had stabilized in 2010.

In  addition, about 10 percent rep…


Makeup of Church Investigative Group Questioned

A group that promotes the views of atheists and others who don’t believe in organized religion is upset that an evangelical-led commission to investigate church finances and possible new federal regulation of congregations did not include people outside the evangelical world.

The complaint follows an announcement this week that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has formed a panel to determine whether churches and other religious groups should be held to the same financial stan…


What Compels People to Give to Religious Causes?

My parents’ golden retriever Sophie was snoring by my feet in my parents’ living room in Miami Beach last month, when suddenly she sprang from her slumber at the sound of the doorbell.

The man outside was part of a growing cottage industry of Orthodox Jewish fund raisers whose job it is to travel door-to-door collecting money to benefit Jewish schools, seminaries, and families in the United States and in Israel. As my father opened the door, Sophie rushed to greet this “meshulach” (as they …