‘A higher purpose’: Christian insurance company gives $150K in grants to 5 church charities

The headquarters for the Brotherhood Mutual Foundation, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The headquarters for the Brotherhood Mutual Foundation, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. | Courtesy Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company

A nonprofit established by a prominent Christian insurance company has awarded $150,000 in grants to five church charities that seek to advance the Kingdom of God in their work.

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, reportedly the second largest provider of property and casualty insurance to Christian ministries in the United States, announced earlier this week that the awarding of grants through its private nonprofit, the Brotherhood Mutual Foundation.

The grants were given through the Foundation’s second annual Kingdom Advancing Grant, in which five out of nearly 400 church programs that applied were selected.

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Brotherhood Mutual Foundation Director Kathy Bruce explained to The Christian Post that the ministries that received the grants will also be connected to other forms of assistance.

“We are moving steadily along in developing relationships with our five recipient church program leaders,” Bruce said, noting that, with these programs, she “saw a higher purpose at play.”

“Each recipient is partnered with two to four church leaders from the Granting Council for mentoring — it's idea swapping, resource sharing, and networking. These leaders join a monthly online call with the recipients to discuss the topic of the day.”

Bruce added that the “council members lead large churches with multiple staff, and they have all led new and innovative initiatives of one kind or another. They know how to overcome obstacles and who to call when the mountain is steep.”

“They encourage, brainstorm, and pray for the recipients who are often from smaller teams and have more limited resources. It’s often a God-sized moment when the challenge is communicated, and the council members just happen to have a connection to overcome it,” she said.

The five church ministries that were selected for the grants were Good Laundry of Good Church in Flint, Michigan, that will receive $50,000; The Maker’s Center of Bible Center Church in Charleston, West Virginia, which will get $25,000; Foster Church, a charity of Citipoint Church in Mount Vernon, Washington, which will receive $25,000; the SMART Academic & Enrichment Program of Shalom Community Christian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, that will get $20,000; and Refugee Employment of Salem Alliance Church in Salem, Oregon, which will receive $30,000.

The amounts given in each grant was based on determining the exact needs of each program, with the Granting Council discerning best estimates for the amount of money needed to cover costs.  

Bruce told CP that the Foundation picked these five programs based on “a rigorous application process that includes reviewing the eligibility requirements, gathering documents and filling out a nine-page application.”

“We designed a rubric and selection criteria that help our Granting Council made up of independent church leaders from across the country. The Granting Council narrows the list to 10 semi-finalists, who are then asked to submit a video for the next round,” Bruce explained.

“The Granting Council meets to discuss the semi-finalists, watch the videos and make the final awards. At that time, they volunteer to mentor for projects that best match up to their own expertise or experiences. Or where they know they can connect the recipients to even more resources and people to strengthen the project.”

Michelle Thompson, executive director of Outreach at Bible Center Church, told CP that being awarded the grant for the Maker’s Center, which works to help recovering addicts with job training and other skills, “was an absolute honor.”

“And receiving the award that is allowing us to expand our programing to help more individuals living in poverty, in the name of Jesus, is even better,” Thompson said.

Describing West Virginia as “ground zero for the opioid crisis,” Thompson called the Maker’s Center “a beacon of hope in one of the most economically depressed areas in our city, which is within one of the poorest states in the country.”

“We have used some of the money to hire additional staff which has helped us to assist more individuals in our area,” she added.

“We are in the process of adding a kitchen to our facility so that we can add Food Handler's Safety classes — for jobs in the food industry — and cooking classes. We have also begun teaching CPR classes and are using grant money to buy additional mannequins.”

Shalom Community Senior Pastor Eric D. Cole told CP he felt “blessed beyond measure to be selected as one of the recipients of the Brotherhood Foundation Grant.”

Shalom Community’s Science, Math, Arts, Reading, and Technology Academic & Enrichment Program is focused on helping students from low-income families succeed academically.

“We began the program in 2010 to help low-income families, in particular, address the ‘summer slide’ many students experience during the summer months.  We had just moved into our building that year and knew that God had given us a heart for education as a focus of our ministry,” Cole explained.

“Although academic rigor is a focus of the program, we also provide classes in nutrition, personal finance, and character development.  The character development classes use biblical characters to teach principles like forgiveness, kindness, respect and serving others.”

Shalom Community plans to use their grant money in multiple ways, according to Cole, among them including to help “provide opportunities for homeless families to participate in the program.”

“We found that the learning loss during the pandemic still continues to impact students and we are implementing additional training and technology to help address learning needs,” he said.

“We are also partnering with our local elementary schools to offer additional tutoring throughout the school year in addition to summer remediation and enrichment. The tutoring opportunities give us an avenue to address the spiritual needs of the students and their families.”

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