Annoyed by end-of-year pleas to “please” give more to those organizations you’ve already given to? If you’re not aware, I can tell you that these requests are based on the established fact that the best people to ask for money are those who’ve given before. So, take a breath and give ‘em a little slack, knowing you are on their “nice” list.

Recently, I had the chance to learn about something new for philanthropies making grants to non-profits. It’s called “trust-based philanthropy.” Rather than require those non-profits to take precious time and staffing resources to create endless reports for the granting agency, the two entities work together to realize the promise of the project. They work in a relationship based on common values, both using their resources to create the social change described/dreamed in the grant proposal.

As I listened to the presentation, I couldn’t help but think of us congregants as philanthropists funding UU Asheville because of our shared commitment to common values. We don’t require endless reporting on what is being done with the money we give because we are at the table, deciding together how best to live out/live into these stated values: connection, compassion, inspiration, justice. They express who we aspire to be as a congregation: connected, compassionate, inspired, and just. They guide what we aspire to do as a congregation: connect to, suffer with, inspire, and enact justice with our community, a community rooted at 1 Edwin Place and extending ever outward to embrace the all-in-all.

Since our congregation is really a group of individuals bound by a covenant, these values are our individual values as well. I see them enacted every Sunday at a worship service where we demonstrate our welcome to all. Do you look around as I do and see, really see, the variety of us?

Our love shines out in many small ways.

Each of us at the table of UU Asheville contributes what we have of time, talent, and—yes—treasure/$$ to realize the good we mutually desire. We have the resources and, as philanthropists, we look for groups that share our values and are dedicated to embodying them. So, we choose The Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Asheville and work in relationship to bring connection, compassion, inspiration, and justice to those in need. the Southeast and beyond.

– Mary Alm, UU AVL Board Member