Six locally-based nonprofits raised $200,000 each in new money this spring due to a fundraising challenge issued by Carey V. Brown and Steve Steele, founders of Chattanooga’s new non-denominational Christian philanthropy. At the nonprofit’s March launch, Covenant Values Foundation announced that it would match up to $100,000 any new funds raised by each of six selected beneficiaries: Chattanooga Community Kitchen, Dawson McAllister Association, On Point, Precept Ministries International, Teen Challenge of the Mid-South and Tennessee Temple University. Each organization met the challenge, raising more than $1.2 million to bolster their causes.
“The purpose of the matching grants is to provide much-needed financial resources to charitable organizations working daily to better the community and world and to enable and encourage them to seek new donors,” said Steve Steele, Covenant Values Foundation co-founder and executive director. “Together we are building a broader foundation of support for worthy causes, and hopefully, inspiring more people to a lifetime of giving.”
Earlier this year, Covenant Values Foundation pledged $1 billion “to help the least of these” throughout the world. Within the first 60 days of the announcement, more than 4,500 organizations applied for grants, which led to more than $3 million in grant commitments in that initial time period. The $600,000 in matching grants to Chattanooga area charities is the first major installment in fulfilling the $1 billion pledge. The foundation’s grants focus on causes fostering the needs of orphans, youth, widows, the unborn and those who cannot help themselves, as well as sharing the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.
“Our goal is to strengthen the important work of charities throughout the world,” said Carey Brown, Covenant Values Foundation co-founder and trustee. “We hope that by offering grants that encourage beneficiaries to find new sources of income, we will spur additional charitable acts and help those organizations find other benefactors that will sustain them long-term.”
On Point, the recipient of Covenant Values Foundation’s first-ever $25,000 grant and a beneficiary of the matching grant challenge, was facing budget shortfalls that threatened to diminish the group’s outreach. “Consistency with youth is one of our core values,” said Ms. Scearce. “This investment has strengthened our capacity to be consistent in the lives of kids.”
Likewise, Chattanooga Community Kitchen, which raised nearly $145,000, will use the funds to raise levels of service and better meet the needs of the rapidly increasing homeless population in Chattanooga.
Other groups plan to use their grant monies to fund specific endeavors. Dawson McAllister Association will invest in an Internet radio program and develop a peer-to-peer coaching video series about how to address social issues within their age group. Precept Ministries International will open an office in Cairo, Egypt to support its overseas ministries, and will provide teaching curriculum and instruction in Romania, the Ukraine and Moldova relating to what the bible says about ethics, values and sex. Tennessee Temple University, which faced a budget shortfall that threatened its ability to regain accreditation, will now be able to demonstrate the profitability required for accreditation and will use a portion of the grant to renovate on-campus housing.
Teen Challenge will fund scholarships to increase the student population it serves. “To have someone step forward like this with such a sizable gift, it’s a surprise, blessing and encouragement all wrapped into one,” said Roger Helle, executive director of Teen Challenge of the Mid-South. “There’s no way we can adequately communicate our gratitude to Covenant Values Foundation. I pray that God will bless them, so they have the resources to continue to impact the faith-based community here in Chattanooga and beyond.”