August 4, 2011, 11:28 am
- 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 they are continuing to look for volunteers and other resources to help them stretch their budgets.
- Incentives for Jews to live in Detroit: Jewish charities in Detroit are attempting to raise $100,000 to encourage young Jews to move to and remain in the Motor City, writes The Detroit Free Press. The project, called “Do It for Detroit,” will offer subsidies of $250 a month to young Jews to…
July 12, 2011, 4:29 pm
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 several other innovative Jewish nonprofits, including the Six Points Fellowship–an incubator for Jewish artists–and Tablet Magazine, a highly regarded online publication of Jewish culture. None of those projects will close.
But the organization is best known for discovering Matisyahu, who became popular on MTV in 2004 after JDub produced his first album, Shake off the Dust … Arise.
July 5, 2011, 4:01 pm
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 organizations sponsoring the project.
According to the World Bank, 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, which means they are living on less than $1.25 per day.
His antipoverty organization—which includes the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, HOPE International, and Living Water International—wants to call attention to the causes of extreme poverty and the organizations …
June 24, 2011, 9:07 am
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. Many of the findings apply to any religious group, he says.
Repair the World was created by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
Of the young Jews in the survey, 78 percents said they had volunteered at least once over the past year, which is a positive sign, Mr. Rosenberg said….
May 31, 2011, 2:10 pm
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 as you have God, at the end of the race you might not have anything on earth, but your treasure is in heaven,” Ms. Rodrigues told me when I visited the mission several weeks ago.
Some 240 homeless people live at the Miami Rescue Mission, immersed in an intense 16-to 20-month program that is part physical and psychological rehabilitation, part education in basic survival …
May 12, 2011, 10:54 am
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 homeless here.
Those who stopped by were offered a free meal, a haircut, a shower, and live entertainment.
Students at Barry University, in Miami Shores, who are taking podiatry courses, were recruited by the mission to provide basic foot care such as nail clipping and filing; homeless people also received socks and shoes that were donated by the Broward County sherriff’s office.
April 21, 2011, 10:26 pm
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 reported increases in revenue last year and 22 percent said that they had seen a drop in revenue during the recession but have since recovered.
The bad economy, however, was difficult for religious congregations.
Some 80 percent of congregations said that their finances had been hurt by the downturn in 2008, and 57 percent said that they lost money in 2010.
Since the recession…
April 15, 2011, 3:08 pm
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 standards that are required for other nonprofits.
Specifically, the commission is looking into whether religious groups should be required to file informational tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service. The group will also examine whether federal legislation is needed to clarify rules that allow clergy members to accept donations directly from congregation members.
Dan Busby, the council’s…
April 7, 2011, 1:56 pm
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 are known in Yiddish). My father would not have been displeased if she had scared him away.
My parents are generous people, especially to Orthodox Jewish causes. But they have philosophical differences with the tactics of the “meshulach” industry. Yet my father walked outside to speak with him and several minutes later made a donation.
What compels my father–and others like him…