Frequently Asked Questions
The deadlines for applcations for NIN Grants are March 31st and September 30th.
1. What is Neighbors in Need?
Through the Neighbors in Need offering, the church expresses a common commitment to justice and compassion throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. One-third of the offering undergirds the work of the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM), including much-needed financial support for 20 American Indian congregations in the UCC. Two-thirds of the offering supports justice advocacy and direct service projects such as just-peace programs and community grants.
Most congregations receive Neighbors in Need on the first Sunday of October, World Communion Sunday. A countdown calendar helps congregations plan for the Neighbors in Need offering.
2. How are Neighbors in Need funds shared with others?
Two-thirds of Neighbors in Need supports program initiatives and direct grants offered by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries. Small but essential grants are made throughout the year to congregations and organizations engaged in community organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct service. Although grants are made to address a wide range of justice priorities, a significant portion of these grants are made to address issues of hunger and poverty.
One-third of Neighbors in Need supports the work of the UCC's Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM), which is the voice for American Indians in the United Church of Christ. CAIM supports the work of local churches and their pastors; encourages youth and young adults; supports persons preparing for Christian ministry; empowers American Indians who are members of non-Indian congregations; and advocates for justice on issues affecting American Indian life.
3. How are Neighbors in Need grants allocated?
Justice and Witness Ministries uses its portion of Neighbors in Need for program initiatives and grant-making, so that funds are directly supporting grassroots advocacy and outreach efforts.
Grant applications are reviewed regularly by ministry teams and decisions are made in keeping with funding guidelines and the availability of funds. Most grants are small and non-repeating but are allocated to congregations and organizations where the larger UCC's solidarity can be used to enhance and strengthen the project's overall effectiveness. All applications must include the endorsement of the UCC conference minister.
Although the number and amount of requests far exceed the amount of dollars available, allocated funds are used to plant seeds in congregations and organizations for programs that creatively address systemic issues of injustice on the local, regional, national, or international level. Careful attention is given to make sure that every Neighbors in Need grant recipient reflects the UCC's vision of being a church of Jesus Christ that is multi-racial, multi-cultural, open and affirming, and accessible to all.
4. What American Indian tribes or nations are supported by Neighbors in Need?
Historically, the forebears of the UCC established churches with the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Ho-Cak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Northern Nebraska. Today, there are 19 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban inter-tribal congregation in Minneapolis. In addition, there are more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations scattered in nearly every conference in the UCC. Your contributions to Neighbors in Need directly impact the UCC's ability to support American Indian ministries and congregations.
5. What happened to the "Just Peace Appeal?"
The Just-Peace Appeal is now part of Neighbors in Need. Through Neighbors in Need, the UCC remains strongly committed to ministries of peacemaking, violence reduction, conflict resolution, federal budget priorities, and global solidarity. For more information on Just Peace/Peace With Justice ministries, contact the Rev. Mike Neuroth, Justice and Witness Ministries, at 202-543-1517 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals and congregations with long-standing commitments to the Just Peace Appeal are encouraged to continue their support for this vital ministry by strengthening their support for Neighbors in Need.
6. Can any portion of Neighbors in Need be retained?
Since the former Just Peace Appeal included a congregation-conference-national sharing of proceeds, some have inquired about continuing this practice with Neighbors in Need. Per instructions set forth by the UCC General Synod, all offerings received are used to support the ministries outlined above. A separate national offering, Strengthen the Church, does utilize a funding formula whereby 50 percent of receipts are retained by your respective conference.
Neighbors in Need does support local mission efforts around the UCC through grants allocated by Justice and Witness Ministries. This, in effect, brings Neighbors in Need funds back to local churches and conferences for specific mission projects.
7. Additional Questions?
For information on Neighbors in Need promotional materials and suggestions on strengthening your congregation's support for the offering, contact Ferne Clements in Justice and Witness Ministries, at Clementf@ucc.orgor (216) 736-3725.
Through our generous gifts to Neighbors In Need, the United Church of Christ is offering hope to millions of people; we are transforming lives, the nation, and our world.