By NCC Communication & Development Department
Northern California Conference President Marc Woodson and Director of Communication and Development Laurie Trujillo discuss the NCC Membership Assistance Fund.
What is the Membership Assistance Fund?
Woodson: We heard from local pastors that many church members are struggling to cover basic human needs because they have been unemployed for a number of months due to the pandemic. In May, the other executive officers and I voted to establish the fund. Its goal is to provide up to $100 in cash assistance to Adventist households in need of immediate support in our region. We recognize that we can’t remove our members’ burden, but we can come alongside them and help carry it by offering financial support.
How are the funds distributed?
Woodson: As a collaborative effort, the local church pastor or leader will identify families in their congregations and request up to $100 per family. Once the request is approved, the pastor will distribute the assistance directly to the families.
What does the conference learn about the families?
Trujillo: The conference doesn’t learn the names or anything personal about the families. To develop our donor reports, we are capturing the total number of households served, total number of family members in the household, and total amount of assistance sought.
Who funds the project?
Trujillo: The fund is completely supported by donations to the conference. We have asked potential donors to make a gift of $100 to assist one family household. Of course, the donor can choose to make a gift of any size.
What new things are you doing with this project?
Trujillo: We are following established development protocols. Key components include confidentiality, stewardship, transparency, and accountability. For example, every donor is thanked within 48 hours of a donation, and they’ll receive an impact report once we reach our goal. For consistent transparency, we continually run stories in “Northern Lights,” the official news source of the NCC.
How have people responded to your request for support?
Trujillo: Since our initial goal is to serve 200 families, we need to raise $20,000. So far, I have been inspired by 44 dedicated and compassionate givers. Moreover, every NCC executive officer has voluntarily made a personal contribution. As of mid-June, donors have given $13,520, and—as the result of a very committed donor—every dollar has been matched, for a total of $27,040, which will help 270 families. One donor expressed that she was happy the NCC was stepping up and thankful to be part of this effort. Because of attitudes like this, we have surpassed our initial goal. We will continue raising support and distributing it to the local churches as long as funds are available and the need still exists.
Any final words?
Woodson: Please remember to return your tithe and support your local church. Also, we want to help our schools, which have done such a fantastic job of educating our students during this difficult time. In addition, our NCC ministries have been adapting to our current challenges to bring many closer to Christ. Let’s keep all of these in prayer and support them as well.
Trujillo: We ask that every person pray and let God lead their hearts. A statement from Ellen White really hits home for me: “In the providence of God events have been so ordered … that there may be a constant exercise in the human heart of the attributes of mercy and love. [People are] to cultivate the tenderness and compassion of Christ” (The Signs of the Times, June 13, 1892).