Since September 2009, the Offering Outreach Program has selected one charitable organization per month to receive half of the collection plate each Sunday. By supporting organizations that address social justice and humanitarian needs at the local, state, national, and international levels, we demonstrate our values as Unitarian Universalists.
How Organizations Are Selected
Do you volunteer for a charitable organization? Is there an organization that has helped you in the past? Have you recently stumbled upon a new and noteworthy nonprofit? We welcome any and all MLUC members to submit nominations!
Download the nomination form (Microsoft Word)
The Offering Outreach Committee will review the forms and select nominations based on the following criteria:
- The organization’s mission must be consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles.
- It must be registered as a 501(c)3 corporation.
- The organization must demonstrate good stewardship of its finances.
- The size and budget of organizations are important, because we would like our donation to be meaningful and make a difference. We feel we can have the greatest impact by supporting smaller organizations. However, a specific program within a larger organization can be considered.
- We welcome international nominations, as long as they have a Unitarian Universalist connection.
- To avoid a possible conflict of interest, we ask that church members refrain from nominating an organization where they are currently employed as a paid staff member.
- Sometimes the committee can also make a decision based on immediate needs, such as relief from natural disasters.
Qualified nominations are coordinated with sermons, related educational programming, or active service opportunities whenever possible. In order to support a wide variety of organizations, themes or categories of nominations are usually rotated from month to month. Examples of such themes are children and families, hunger, disabilities, prison, violence prevention, immigration, physical and mental health, and LGBTQ issues. Nominees not immediately selected will remain on file for future consideration.
Norristown Hospitality Center
Norristown Hospitality Center, the only daytime shelter in downtown Norristown, is a daytime home for anyone who would otherwise be left hungry, weary, or on the streets of Norristown. It was founded in 1992 by Norristown Ministries, Inc, a group of 38 founding partner organizations, consisting of 24 Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish congregations and 14 community organizations out of true and simple love for people. The Center provides breakfast six days per week to 80-90 people, as well as access to showers, lockers, computers, and local phone service. In addition to helping with basic needs, the Center provides social services to empower those experiencing homelessness and poverty. The Norristown Hospitality Center is funded entirely without governmental funds, and is supported by contributions from congregations, foundations, corporations, groups, and individuals.
The Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Ministry (UUPALM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide educational opportunities, guidance, and support to Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout Pennsylvania on how to, “Bring Unitarian Universalist voices into the public square.” There are over 6,000 Unitarian Universalists in Pennsylvania and UUPALM provides training and education to our congregations on how to unite and bring our UU voices, principles, and values to our state legislators in Harrisburg. UUPALM works in conjunction with its sister organization, the Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network, a 501(c)(4) organization which many UUs in Pennsylvania, including many MLUC members, have joined.
Delaware Valley Children's Charity
Delaware Valley Children's Charity (DVCC) is located in West Chester, PA. This organization is dedicated to bringing relief and assistance to children and families in need throughout the Delaware Valley. DVCC started with a holiday program thirty-one years ago, providing warm clothing, food, and gifts to a small number of children. In 1991, it was formally made into a nonprofit organization, and activities were extended to provide for emergency needs throughout the calendar year. Staffed by volunteers only, DVCC has responded to requests for heating oil, food, clothing, housing, utilities, hearing aids, furniture, camp, daycare, preschool costs, and other needs for children and their families. They continue to have a large holiday program where sponsors provide a huge volume of warm clothing, food, and toys to underprivileged children and families.
Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER) is an organization of more than forty religious congregations around Philadelphia and southeast and central Pennsylvania. POWER uses their belief in God's goodness and compassion to organize and empower people to work together and transform the conditions of their neighborhoods so that life flourishes for all. POWER focuses on jobs, education, safety, housing, and health. They make the connection between economic and environmental justice to include advocacy for green jobs in the solar power industry. In October, they convened two days of workshops on building a climate justice movement that is multi-racial, across classes, and includes urban, suburban, and rural coalitions. POWER published, Black Work Matters: Green Jobs Report, which identifies how green jobs can be a gateway to a just and moral economy, one in which children's health, living-wage jobs, and a life-sustaining planet are prioritized.
Women's Law Project
The Women's Law Project (WLP) is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania that is devoted to the rights of women and girls. Established in 1974, WLP works across a spectrum of issues that affect women's legal status, health, and economic security. WLP does this through high-impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community education with a particular focus on reproductive rights, improving the institutional response to violence against women, challenging sex and gender discrimination, and advocating for workplace equality. WLP offers a telephone counseling service which provides information and referrals to thousands of women every year, on issues such as restraining orders, child custody, divorce, sexual harassment, and discrimination.
Main Line Mentoring
Located in the Mt. Pleasant section of Wayne, Main Line Mentoring provides activities for children and youth that encourage academic, social, and cultural growth. The Mt. Pleasant Chapel/Carr School is open four nights each week for children to work on homework and school projects, to read, and to pursue other educational interests. Two retired school teachers and volunteers from local universities and the community provide individual and small group assistance and instruction. Computer and internet access is available. Social and cultural opportunities are offered to include college tours, art classes, sporting events, and trips to museums and theaters.
New Day's New Home
The Salvation Army has been a leader in fighting the horrors of human trafficking. They opened the New Day Drop-In Center in Kensington in 2014 and have now opened a home for young women, ages 18-26 at an undisclosed location (for safety and anonymity). The home serves women who were trafficked for sex as minors and are aging out of child protective services. The home helps survivors transition from a life of bondage and exploitation to one of freedom and self-sufficiency in an environment of dignity. The program provides comprehensive, holistic services including medical/psychological treatment, education, vocational training, and more.
Mount Zion AME Church
Our neighbor, Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is the first recorded African American congregation of any denomination and the oldest AME church on the Main Line. The church is in desperate need of a new roof and has made progress in saving funds for this purpose but is still short of the required amount. Our collection for June will go toward helping them reach their goal. Mt. Zion was founded in 1849 and has a rich history. By assisting them with roof replacement funds, we help ensure that their church thrives for years to come.
UUH Client Assistance Fund
Since 1999, UUH Outreach has assisted adults ages 60+ in Northwest Philadelphia in remaining independent in their own homes. They take time to fully understand the situation and concerns of each individual, responding with tailored information and access to community resources. The organization formed when the Unitarian Universalist House, founded by member congregations of the Joseph Priestly District, closed in 2010 and merged with Lycoming House. The UUH Outreach office was moved to a nearby senior citizen apartment building, where it is staffed by a nurse, social workers, a case aide, and an executive director, who serve 300 adults throughout Germantown, Mt Airy, West Oak Lane, and part of East Falls. Their Client Assistance Fund makes small grants to address a variety of needs such as utility bills, prescription co-pays, emergency food, and minor home repairs.
The Neighborhood Gardens Trust
The Neighborhood Gardens Trust (NGT) acquires and preserves community gardens and shared open space to enhance the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods. With more than thirty gardens, NGT is a leader in sustaining local green space and advancing community gardening. The organization empowers individuals within communities to turn vacant lots into productive gardens. The gardens are maintained by local residents and serve the needs of the local community.
Our March recipient was the Feeding Thousands project. Money collected in March will be used to purchase food for this event. Volunteers from MLUC, St Luke's, and others in the community will meet at St. Luke's to prepare food packages on March 25. This is MLUC's second time participating in Feeding Thousands.
Chester County Futures
Chester County Futures provides comprehensive academic support, mentoring, and scholarships for motivated, economically disadvantaged youth to help them succeed in school, higher education, and life. CCF provides services to 450 middle school through post-secondary school students in Coatsville, Kennett, Oxford, and Phoenixville. All funds donated to CCF via Offering Outreach will be used toward the purchase of new Chromebook computers for seniors from the class of 2017 who are participants in the CCF program. A computer is an absolute necessity in post secondary education, yet many of these students would be heading to college without a personal computer if not for CCF. During the past fiscal year, 100% of high school seniors served by CCF graduated on time and 94% enrolled in post secondary education. The provision of computers, an essential academic tool, will assist this year's seniors in achieving success.
Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund
In response to the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, the UUSC is partnering with a respected Haitian relief organization, GARR (Groupe d' Appui au Repatries et Refugie's), to provide humanitarian assistance for marginalized groups overlooked by other relief efforts. This includes cholera awareness and prevention, livelihood support, and human rights training for repatriated and stateless refugees living in camps in Anse-a-Pitres, Haiti. Learn more via the mluc.org homepage.
The Foundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Easttown, FLITE, serves preschool through high school students in Tredyffrin/Easttown by funding programs that help ensure all students - especially those who face financial or environmental barriers to educational success - have the academic tools, opportunities, and support they need. FLITE funds 18 programs including preschool tuition assistance for students who meet financial criteria, an after-school homework program, computers for home usage, funding for musical instrument rentals for students who otherwise would not be able to participate in school music programs, and financial assistance for summer learning opportunities.
The Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
The Interfaith Center was founded in 2004 as a regional response to the national tragedy of 9/11. The Center was founded by individuals from diverse backgrounds who wanted to transform the tragic event into a catalyst for positive change. Today, the Center strives to increase peace and understanding among people of all faiths and backgrounds in our region. Their aim is to replace hate and fear with harmony and acceptance. They work towards these goals through educational and leadership opportunities for youth, adults, and religious leaders. In this time of rancor towards various groups within our country, The Interfaith Center offers a safe place to learn and understand.
The Chester Children's Chorus
The Chester Children's Chorus (CCC) offers talented children, ages 8 to 18, the opportunity to achieve musical excellence, expand their intellectual and cultural horizons, and flourish as confident individuals. For younger children, the Chorus' Sing-to-Learn program provides music instruction that reinforces academic objectives in twelve kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classrooms in Chester. Inspired by his own experience in the Newark Boy's Choir, Dr. John Alston founded the CCC in 1994 with seven boys from one school in Chester. Each year, the CCC performs 10 to 12 community concerts. On October 22 they will perform at MLUC.
The organization selected for this month is MLUC's partner church in Várfalva, Romania, whose building needs extensive renovations. The church received a loan from their Bishop's office to conduct a study/archeological dig to determine the condition of the historic building and steps needed for restoration. Based upon the findings, the congregation was awarded a European Union grant to proceed with the next phase of work, after they repay the Bishop's loan of $5000. The Offering Outreach contribution will provide this rural church congregation with assistance toward repayment of the loan.
The Acquired Brain Injury Network of Pennsylvania
The Acquired Brain Injury Network of Pennsylvania (ABIN-PA). ABIN-PA eases the life-changing impact of brain injury by helping survivors and their families rebuild their lives. They provide support, education, information, advocacy, and other services for individuals with acquired brain injury and their families. The organization is run by individuals with brain injuries and their family members. Through their Infoline, PeerConnect program and events, survivors and family members are able to share their stories and encourage each other on the road to recovery.
Girls Justice League
Located in Philadelphia, the Girls Justice League, is a girl's rights organization dedicated to taking action for social, political, educational, and economic justice with and for girls and young women. The League is a collective of young women and their allies, working to build and reinforce a culture where girls are fully empowered and where gender, race, and other disparities are identified and confronted in the systems which affect their futures. Girls participate in Saturday and Summer Institutes and develop skills in leadership, activism, and organizing. They identify issues that they care about and then launch campaigns to make change in their schools and neighborhoods.
Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association
Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association (CRC) is devoted to the protection of water resources of the Chester, Ridley and Crum Creek Valleys in Chester and Delaware Counties. Since 1970, CRC has been cleaning streams, restoring stream side forests, monitoring water quality and educating students and residents about stream protection. CRC organized stream clean up at multiple sites on April 30, including Smedley Park, the location for the MLUC Environmental Care Project.
Educating Communities for Parenting
Educating Communities for Parenting (ECP) is located in Philadelphia. Their mission is to provide parenting education and youth development programs that cultivate independence and responsibility, break the cycle of abuse and neglect, and build strong communities. The foundation for all ECP programs is a continuously updated, research-based curriculum. Programs are provided in foster care residences, homeless shelters, recovery facilities, childcare centers, and schools. Populations served include teen/young adult parents, adjudicated delinquent youth, young adults aging out of foster care, and preschoolers/children at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence.
Daemion Counseling Center
Located in Berwyn, Daemion Counseling Center provides quality mental health counseling to those who cannot afford traditional therapy fees. The center serves individuals, couples, and families, ages 14+, from southeastern PA. The majority of clients come with symptoms of depression. 26% of those served have an income of less than $15,000 per year. Daemion Counseling Center helps those facing mental health and life challenges turn the corner toward hope. Visit daemioncounseling.org for more information.
Mighty Writers teaches Philadelphia children and teens to think and write with clarity so they can achieve success at school, at work, and in life. They offer after school academies, writing classes on nights and weekends, teen scholar programs, mentorships, SAT preparation, and college essay classes. In 2014-2015, the organization served 2,000 students at four centers in South, West, and North Philadelphia. Mighty Writers works with children who are struggling to read and write and who have the potential to be great readers and writers. They work with children who may be receiving little encouragement from teachers in overcrowded classrooms and who may not have books at home. Children and teens who participate in the programs improve their reading and writing skills, achieving proficiency at a much higher rate than their peers who are not in the program.
Hosts for Hospitals
Hosts for Hospitals is a unique, small nonprofit agency providing free or minimal cost lodging and support at volunteer host homes as a response to the housing needs of patients and families who come the Greater Philadelphia area for specialized medical care. Several MLUC families have participated as hosts and have welcomed medical patients and their families from all over the United States and the world. Hosts for Hospitals fills a unique niche in meeting the lodging needs of patients' families. It is the only organization that provides lodging for the families of adult patients of whom the illness does not involve transplant or cancer. The organization accepts families of patients of all ages and all types of illness. There are no restrictions on family size or length of stay.
Philadelphia Veteran's House
Located in West Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Veterans House (PVH) began in 1994 as a place for veterans commuting between the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center and their homes to live comfortably and have meals, free of charge, during weekdays. In 2012, PVH welcomed its first homeless guests. PVH accepts honorably discharged military personnel and gives homeless veterans a chance to start over and find employment and housing. PVH's Operation Airdrop brings food and supplies to veterans on the streets during the fall and winter months. Operation Able Assist prevents homelessness by paying vital bills, while holiday open houses are held so that homeless veterans can spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with good company, while receiving meals, showers, and an opportunity to do laundry.
Neighborhood Bike Works
Neighborhood Bike Works is an organization that provides educational, recreational, and career-building opportunities for urban youth in underserved neighborhoods in greater Philadelphia through bicycling. It promotes cycling as a healthy, affordable, and environment-friendly method of transportation. Their free or low-cost youth programs like Earn-a-Bike, Group Rides, and summer camp reach over 500 youth per year. Bike maintenance classes are also offered, leading to opportunities for apprenticeships and summer jobs. Visit neighborhoodbikeworks.org.
Tredyffrin and Easttown Care
Tredyffrin and Easttown Care (T & E Care) is a nonprofit organization that helps families who are facing difficult situations right in our community. T & E Care provides financial and other material assistance to persons in need of financial and other material assistance who reside in and around the Tredyffrin and Easttown township area. Assistance is provided for mortgage, rent and utility payments for people in need, school supplies, summer camp, computers, and for school lunches for families who don't quite meet the criteria for the school lunch program but are struggling with lunch costs.
On October 17, MLUC and other community groups from around the area gather at St. Luke Lutheran Church to distribute thousands of meals to the hungry. Meals are distributed with the help of Philabundance and the Chester County Food Bank, and ingredients are supplied through End Hunger NE. In March 2015, St. Luke youth packaged over 20,000 meals. This time, the whole community is invited to get involved. All funds raised through our September Offering Outreach collection will go toward funding ingredients and supplies for the meals.
Mindfulness Through Movement
Mindfulness Through Movement, Inc. is the Offering Outreach recipient for July and August. This small nonprofit organization offers mindfulness and yoga programs taught by certified instructors to children in twelve underserved schools in Philadelphia. The program is based upon the belief that in order to learn in the school setting, children need to be able to clear their minds of all those things that are out of their control. Students learn simple breath and movement practices, an important set of self-empowerment tools, to help them manage the stress of living in an urban setting so that they can relax more and open their minds to learn.
Main Line Youth Alliance
Main Line Youth Alliance, located on West Lancaster Ave. provides gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender questioning youth and straight allies with social, educational and supportive activities in a confidential, respectful, and safe environment. Although MYA is not affiliated with any church or organization, the Central Baptist Church in Wayne provides MYA with space. Youth, ages 14 to 22, from surrounding high schools and colleges participate in regular Friday night group discussions, presentations, and other activities. MYA has no paid staff and operates with a very small budget. All contributions go directly to programs and activities for youth.
Located in Kennett Square, Camp Dreamcatcher's mission is to provide therapeutic and educational programs to youth and their families who are affected by HIV/AIDS, and to foster an atmosphere of tolerance, compassion, respect, and understanding through volunteer opportunities, services, and community outreach. The organization operates an annual summer camp session as well as year-round educational and therapeutic programs. All children served are either coping with their own HIV/AIDS infections, the HIV/AIDS diagnoses of family members, or the loss of a family member from HIV/AIDS. Of the 124 children who attended the 2014 summer camp session, most were from low income families. Summer camp and other services are free of charge.
New Day Drop-In Center
The New Day Drop-in Center, a Salvation Army Program, is a safe, trauma-informed, welcoming, and non-judgmental space for women who are victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. At New Day, women have access to meals, showers, toiletries, social services, information about a way out, and a safe place to rest for a while, all provided with dignity and respect. The location is open Monday through Thursday, and sees anywhere from 15 to 25 women per day. New Day focuses on building rapport and trust, and supports women in reclaiming control over their lives. News of thecenter is spread primarily through word of mouth and also by street outreach teams.
The Ray of Hope Project
March 2015 - $2,017
The primary mission of The Ray of Hope Project, located in Philadelphia, is the rehabilitation of existing homes. Qualifying low-income families are able to keep their homes habitable and maintain residency. The organization provides training to former inmates and offers educational apprenticeships to other qualified persons. Structures that were previously not only community eyesores, but also unhealthy and unsafe for residents and neighbors, have been restored. Community stability is enhanced and overall neighborhood quality is improved. The Ray of Hope Project seeks not only to rehabilitate individual homes, but to revitalize entire communities.
Additional recipients of MLUC's Offering Outreach program are: The Center for Creative Works, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund, Good Shepherd Mediation Program, Heeding God's Call, The Center Foundation, DMAX Foundation, Treehouse Books, ArtWell, Interfaith Hospitality Network, CHOICE, Community Volunteers in Medicine, Back on My Feet, West Chester Food Cupboard, Life Beyond Abuse, Tredyffrin & Easttown Care, Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children, Green Belt Movement, The Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia, Main Line Youth Alliance, Project Forward Leap, UUSC-UUA Pakistan Relief Fund, Chester County Food Bank, Books Through Bars, Peter’s Place, Nationalities Service Center, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, Latinas Unidas, Community Volunteers in Medicine, Baker Industries, Hosts for Hospitals, Papaye Peasant Movement, Family Support Line, Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, Heeding God’s Call, Every Child is Our Child, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, Ardmore Food Pantry, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Mazzoni Center Ally Safe Schools, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Radnor A Better Chance, Prison Ministry at the Church of the Larger Fellowship, The Bridge Way School, The Ray of Hope Project, Surrey Services for Seniors, MusicWorks, Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection.