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United Thank Offering welcomes applications for 2007 grants

By Daphne Mack

[Episcopal News Service]  The 2007 grant application process for the United Thank Offering (UTO) is officially underway.

Dioceses within the Episcopal Church and provinces of the Anglican Communion may submit grant requests. Applications, instructions and letters of invitation have been mailed to diocesan and provincial offices and may be submitted through January 31, 2007.

Established in 1889 as the United Offering by the Women's Auxiliary to the Board of Missions, UTO primarily supported the work of women missionaries in the Episcopal Church. That emphasis has broadened to include all areas of the church's work.

"We have a lot of potential to help people meet their goals," said JoAnne Chapman, UTO Coordinator. "We look at the grant applications and try to meet the most compelling needs."

This year, UTO will also consider the budget priorities adopted by the 75th General Convention, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The UTO Committee has discussed the MDGs and attended the Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission where these goals were emphasized, Chapman explained.

"We welcome grants from overseas that support the MDGs as well as Theological Education for the Anglican Communion (TEAC), because the [Anglican] Primates have identified that as a goal," she said.

In 2006, UTO approved 112 grants totaling $2,419,628.54. Two of the grants, totaling $120,000, went to the Diocese of Louisiana for projects related to rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.
The College of Transfiguration in Southern Africa received a grant for $50,600 for the construction of a new library; the Christian Formation Centre in the Diocese of Seychelles received $38,481.59 to renovate St. Philip's College; and the Diocese of the Dominican Republic received $70,000 -- one of the largest grants awarded -- to build student housing at the "Centro de Estudios Teologicos" seminary.
"We have often given grants related to education, but now we are identifying this in our policy," Chapman said. "We want overseas dioceses to know that we are looking carefully at issues of education and gender equality. We're not saying what they have to apply for, because they know their own needs better than we do, but we want them to know that these needs have been identified both by the Episcopal Church and by the whole Anglican Communion. They can take the opportunity of the UTO granting process to implement some of these types of projects."
The UTO Committee welcomed seven new members for this triennium and offered a two-day training session for UTO Diocesan Coordinators at the Triennial meeting of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) at General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, in June.
Further information on UTO ia available here. For a grant application, contact your diocesan office or your provincial office overseas. For regional grant applications contact JoAnne Chapman at +1-800-334-7626 ext. 5130.