Q: "What’s the difference between ERD and UTO, and why do we need both? Why can’t ERD and UTO be under the same umbrella?
Malaika Kamunanwire, director of development and public relations for Episcopal Relief and Development, and JoAnne Chapman, UTO coordinator, respond:
A: Episcopal Relief and Development and the United Thank Offering have different histories, different governance, different staffing and, most importantly, different areas of focus.
Established in 1940, Episcopal Relief and Development transforms communities around the world and works in the areas of emergency relief and rebuilding, food security, and primary health. Over the years, ERD’s programmatic focus has expanded to address long-term development and rehabilitation programs. In 2000, the agency’s name was changed from the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief to reflect this new direction.
As an independent 501(c) 3 organization, ERD is governed by a 20-member board of directors but maintains a close affiliation with the General Convention and Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.
Partnering with Anglican and ecumenical offices, ERD provides emergency relief such as food, shelter and other critical supplies in times of crisis at home and abroad. Often, after major disasters, ERD develops rehabilitation programs, working hand-in-hand with local communities to build new homes, plant crops, create clean water systems, construct clinics and schools and offer critical post-trauma counseling and economic opportunities.
ERD has identified health care and food security as its major emphases overseas. The agency’s sustainable-development programs enable people to climb out of poverty by establishing long-term partnerships within the Anglican Communion and with local partners to ensure vulnerable people lead healthier and more productive lives. ERD’s food-security initiatives provide farming and business training to give people the tools to earn an income. Its health programs focus on issues such as clean water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS and malaria.
United Thank Offering
The United Thank Offering has furthered the mission work of the church since the Women’s Auxiliary to the Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church started it in 1889. UTO invites grant requests from diocesan bishops of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church, from the provinces of the Anglican Communion and from the World Council of Churches and the Anglican Consultative Council. UTO also gives discretionary funds to all Episcopal missionaries serving overseas.
Overseas grants help to strengthen the infrastructure of the church, often funding diocesan or provincial buildings (churches, offices, seminaries, clergy housing, community centers, schools, clinics) or vehicles. In the United States, the types of requests from dioceses vary widely, including everything from accessibility projects to startups or expansions of social-ministry projects.
The UTO operates on an annual granting cycle and does not have the capacity to respond to emergency requests or to oversee long-term development projects. UTO encourages thankful giving and is committed to dispersing the entire offering each year in grants.
UTO does no individual solicitation and does not accept designated funds. The UTO Committee reviews grant requests and funds the most compelling projects each year. UTO publishes an annual grants list, which is sent to every parish and is available free from the Episcopal Book/Resource Center, 1-800-903-5544.
ERD and UTO staff members maintain a collaborative relationship and share information so that each group can make the best decisions with respect to programs and funding. Both organizations operate with a network of volunteers at the diocesan and local church levels.
This year, they collaboratively published ERD & UTO Side-by-Side, which has been distributed to diocesan coordinators of both organizations