Upper St. Clair Alliance Benevolent Fund

If you are seeking assistance from the Upper St. Clair Alliance Benevolent Fund, please read the entire policy as stated below before filling out the request form.

Upper St. Clair Alliance Benevolent Fund Policy

GENERAL GUIDELINES

The Benevolent Fund is intended as a source of last resort, to be sought only when the family or individual requesting assistance has explored all other possibilities of help from family, friends, savings, investments, or any other resources. It is intended to be a temporary help during a time of crisis.

Assistance from the Benevolent Fund is intended to be a one-time gift. In unusual circumstances, the Deacons may decide to help an individual family more than one time. However, under no circumstance is a gift from the Benevolent Fund to be considered a loan. No gift may be repaid, either in part or in full, in money or in labor.

If the recipient desires to give to the church at a later time, this individual should be encouraged to give directly to the General Fund of the church.

Those requesting assistance must also be willing to receive financial, family, or emotional counseling. The Deacons will not provide help to anyone who, in its estimation, will have negative or irresponsible behavior reinforced by financial help.
Those requesting help must be willing to give the Deacons permission to follow up on any of the information provided to the committee. The committee will be sensitive to confidential issues.

RECIPIENTS

In order of priority, recipients of funds disbursed from the benevolent fund at the direction of the Deacons are:

1. Church members
2. Regular attenders
3. Members of the community
4. Ministries and Christian agencies that serve people with the same needs as those which fit the criteria for assistance from the benevolence fund, but which provide services the church does not
5. Employees of the church (The benevolence fund will occasionally assist staff members in need subject to the guidelines of the employee assistance program.)
6. Friends or acquaintances of church members or adherents

CRITERIA

The stated purpose of the Benevolent Fund is to meet people’s basic needs. Normally, these needs are defined as:

• Lodging (including utilities, repairs, rent, mortgage)
• Food
• Clothing
• Medical treatment
• Transportation to or from a place of employment
• Funeral expenses
• Initial evaluation and professional counseling appointments

Needs that will generally not be met by the Benevolent Fund include:

• School expenses, business investments, or anything that brings financial profit to the individual or family;
• Paying off credit cards (Exceptions can be made when an individual has had to use
a credit card in a crisis or emergency.)
• Needs of individuals who are wanted by the law or for paying fines as a result of breaking the law
• Housing for unmarried couples
• Legal fees
• Penalties relating to late payments or irresponsible actions
• Private school fees or tuition
• Business ventures or investments

Financial assistance for counseling will be considered if it is perceived that counseling would directly enable the individual to address a current financial situation. In most cases, this would be limited to an initial counseling appointment. Under special circumstances, additional financial help can be given. In such cases, the committee will consult with the pastor to determine a specific amount.

Generally, assistance from the Benevolent Fund will not exceed $750 per person or family (during a twelve-month period). In very unusual circumstances, families and individuals who are in need of substantial funds (over $750) and who have the opportunity to make a life-changing decision can continue to be assisted up to whatever limit the Deacons deems appropriate. Such cases should be reviewed carefully and, when appropriate, will require approval from the Elder Board.
Special projects, sometimes funded by special offerings designated for the Benevolent Fund, might include supporting local outreach ministries to the poor, or helping to provide assistance during times of catastrophe or major crises.

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