Heartline Ministries, a U.S.-based ministry working to be the “hands and feet of Christ” in Haiti, has been awarded a first-place $50,000 grant through an online and social media-driven contest.
The SoulCare Project and The Resonate Group launched the Web-based initiative called “Giving of Life” six months ago. Ministries with a 501c3 status could not only apply for financial grants, but also have their ministry made known to a whole new audience via social media.
The top 50 finalists were selected in early November by the votes they amassed from their entry displayed on the Giving of Life website. Viewers at GivingofLife.com could read about the more than 200 ministries, vote on their favorites, and tell others about their vote on Facebook and Twitter.
Committee members then selected which ministries would receive grants ranging from $2,000 to the first place $50,000 grant. Twenty ministries received some type of financial grant, it was announced Friday.
First place winner Heartline Ministries operates an orphanage, women’s programs and a maternity center in Port-au-Prince Haiti. Heartline came into its own 11 years ago as a way to formalize the independent ministry work of John and Beth McHoul. The McHouls have been working in Haiti for more than 20 years and are the founding directors of the organization.
The Simple Way, a ministry seeking to restore an urban community in Philadelphia, and eXile International, a group that provides trauma care to war-affected children and former child soldiers in the Congo, won second and third place grants of $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.
“We couldn't be more pleased with the heart and love behind the ministries that have been awarded the big three grants,” Giving of Life co-founder Russell Courtney told The Christian Post. “Above all, it was apparent to all of the Giving of Life committee that the leadership of all three of these organizations exudes a heart that sees the significance of being connected to God first and foremost and ministry becomes a byproduct of their deep connection to their Father.”
Courtney explained that the Giving of Life initiative is a way for ministries that often go unnoticed to no longer be hidden from public view.
“Smaller to mid-size ministries struggle to fundraise and we hope to provide a platform for them to share their stories,” he said. “Our desire is to allow ministries to continue doing what they do best as opposed to requiring them to report metrics, results, and outcomes.”
“Too often, we as Christians in philanthropy concentrate too much on what ministries don't have or can't do rather than encourage ministries by praising and honoring them for what they do have and what they do well,” he added.
The grant-giving ministry partners plan to continue the initiative next year.
“We could easily just announce the recipients, cheer them on, and call it a day, but that’s not what we’re about,” said co-founder Kerry Bural. “These ministries are impacting lives in very powerful ways. The committee wanted to highlight them so those who voted can do more than congratulate them-they can appreciate the hearts of the people behind each ministry.”
Courtney said that next year there will be more ways for people to participate and more grants available for ministries. He encourages people to visit the Giving of Life Facebook page for information on an opportunity to win an all-expense paid trip to one’s favorite ministry.