The coronavirus crisis presents significant financial challenges both for God’s people and for congregations. Here are some resources to help both congregants and church leaders cope in this emergency:
ELCA & SYNOD RESOURCES
LSS Disaster Fund Grant Application – Covid-19 – The coronavirus emergency qualifies as a disaster, so our synod has some funds available to help congregations cope.
ELCA Daily Bread Matching Grants – As part of the ELCA’s response to pandemic, ELCA World Hunger is launching Daily Bread Matching Grants to support congregational feeding ministries through access to matching grants and an online fundraising platform. Up to 100 Daily Bread Matching Grants are available for ELCA congregations on a first-come, first-served basis.
Synod Hunger Grants – Our synod will be accepting a special round of applications in our Hunger Grants program to fund congregational feeding programs in this crisis. Look for an application posted on the website by April 7.
State Extends Sales Tax Exemption Certificates – Due to virus-related slowdowns, the state Department of Revenue has extended the Sales Tax Exemption Certificate for our synod and congregations until Sept. 30. The certificates had been set to expire next week. Click the link for a copy of the Sales Tax Exemption Certificate Extension Letter.
CARES Act ‘forgivable’ loans– The Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) of the CARES Act, passed by Congress just last week, creates a $350 billion fund for loans to cover small business (including churches) payroll, mortgage and other expenses between Feb. 15 and June 30. The money is loaned on a first-come, first-served basis, so act fast. Click here for an update from Clergy Advantage. Click here for a flyer from the US Chamber of Commerce. Click here to get to the PPP Landing page of the Small Business Administration. which runs the program.
IRS Relief for Congregations – Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, congregations may begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, the Paid Sick Leave and Child Care Leave Credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
Get going with online giving – Check out , Tithe.ly and Vanco, both ELCA “preferred providers” of digital giving tools. Special rates and deals for ELCA congregations. Click here to view a Vanco webinar recorded on March 17 explaining Vanco’s services.
Protect your personal finances in the coronavirus crisis – Members of faith communities are feeling the financial pinch from COVID-19. Here, from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are some resources for how to get help and guidance.
Why choose generosity in times of uncertainty and fear? – Sure, there’s a virus that’s turning life (and church) upside down. But that’s no excuse to stop teaching about generosity and stewardship. Joe Park of of Horizons Stewardship gives some excellent advice and some easy-to-communicate reasons.
Don’t let the pandemic crash your offerings – Restrictions on travel and gathering have caused financial pains for churches across the land. When people stay away from church, usually so do their offerings. But creative, proactive and strategic steps can help keep you ministry well funded through the emergency. Blog post from Rob Blezard, assistant to the bishop.
Keep donations flowing during COVID-19 crisis – Ideas for congregational leaders to maintain robust ministry and keep donations flowing in this crisis. Blog post from Rob Blezard, assistant to the bishop.
RESOURCES FOR CONGREGANTS
Protect yourself financially from the impact of the coronavirus – The U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau offers excellent guidance to you and your congregants on how to weather the financial storm from this virus.