In February 2021, Keith Pacey, the Finance & Stewardship Team Leader at Calvin Presbyterian Church in North Bay, Ontario, applied for the Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations for 2021/2022. This grant provides funds to help faith-based and cultural organizations increase safety and security measures for the facilities they rent or own. The grant requires that applicants must host regular gatherings of religious, spiritual or cultural significance as one of their primary activities. Grants of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 (based on the organization’s annual revenue) could be used for upgrades to enhance the security of the building, security assessments and/or to host an event which responds to a hate-motivated incident.

Applying for grants from foundations or municipal, provincial or federal governments can help supplement a congregation’s income. When applying for a grant it is important that the applicant understands its purpose and vision and how the congregation’s program meets the funding criteria. Many congregations have been successful at accessing grants to support their ministry, even from secular organizations.

With their income level, Calvin PC was eligible for a $7,500 grant. They applied for a grant to use toward the cost of more secure doors.

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To receive the grant, the congregation needed to attest that Calvin PC was in compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and hate-related laws under the Criminal Act and that all funds would be used for eligible expenses occurring between April 2021 and March 2022. To complete the application, they also needed:

  • A legal organization name
  • A Canada Revenue Agency business identification number (the 15-digit charity registration number)
  • A certificate of land title or current lease agreement
  • Material showing Calvin PC’s primary activities, including the nature and frequency of gatherings
  • Articles of Incorporation or letters patent (see sidebar)
  • Revenue Calvin PC reported to the Canada Revenue Agency for 2019
  • The organization’s bank account statement or a void cheque

Proving Your Congregation is a Legal Entity

Keith couldn’t find Calvin PC listed in the province’s business registry, so he knew it wasn’t a corporation or a sole proprietorship and he contacted the PCC national office to ask where he might find Calvin Presbyterian Church’s “articles of incorporation” or “letters patent.”

From the General Assembly Office, he learned that The Presbyterian Church in Canada is an association of unincorporated congregations and the denomination’s Trustee Board is the incorporated body for all congregations. Individual congregations are all governed by the denomination’s constitution as outlined in the Book of Forms, so they don’t need to be incorporated.

A congregation is defined in the Book of Forms under section 139 as “a company of persons, together with their children, associated in a particular locality for Christian worship, instruction, fellowship and work, with the sanction of a presbytery.”

Instead of incorporation documents, Keith provided a letter, supplied by the presbytery clerk, which certified that Calvin Presbyterian Church is a congregation in good standing within the Presbytery of Algoma and North Bay and The Presbyterian Church in Canada. The letter was accompanied by a copy of the page in the most recent Acts and Proceedings that states the congregation’s legal name and address.

For a sample letter that your presbytery can adapt to certify your church is in good standing, contact Jim MacDonald or at 1-800-619-7301 ext. 257.

Documentation Required

Keith used Calvin PC’s Charity Detail Page from the Canada Revenue Agency Charities and Giving website to show Calvin PC’s charitable status and charitable registration number. Their most recent T1030 form showed their 2019 revenue, which determined the level of funding they were eligible for.

The congregation’s mission plan and vision statement showed that Calvin PC’s primary activity is to host regular gatherings of religious spiritual or cultural significance.

Finally, to prove that the church “owns land,” Keith found a “Parcel Register for Property Identifier” on the Service Ontario website that showed that the property owner’s name was “The Board of Trustees of Calvin Presbyterian Church.” He also found a document registering a mortgage from 1994 and a document showing that Calvin purchased the lot next door to the church property in the early 1980s. (Every church’s journey to prove land ownership will be different. Most municipalities have registries of deeds that can be searched.)

Using the Grant
By helping Calvin PC cover the cost of the purchase and installation of the doors, the government grant helped free up money for other ministry initiatives. Because it was an attestation grant, the government provided it on the understanding that the congregation would use it for eligible expenses. The project can already be completed before the grant is applied for and approved, as long as it falls within the specified date range and is used for eligible expenses. Calvin PC applied in March of 2021 for doors that were installed in July 2021 but the final approval for the grant didn’t come until March of 2022. If the congregation finds it cannot use the complete grant for eligible expenses, they need to return any unused funds.

Record Keeping
The congregation doesn’t have to submit receipts for payment, but must keep them for seven years as they could be audited to prove that the all of the funds were used for eligible expenses. If the audit identifies funds used for any other reason, the congregation has to return any funds used for ineligible expenses to the government.

Congregations that applied for and received money in one grant cycle are eligible to apply for the grant in subsequent years. After the success of the 2020/2021 grant, Calvin PC applied for another $7,500 for the 2022/2023 grant cycle to help cover the cost of new windows.

To find your congregation in the Government of Canada List of Charities, visit https://apps.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/hacc/srch/pub/dsplyBscSrch , find your church and click on the link to the Detail page.

The deadline for the 2022/2023 Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations 2022/2023 was August 31, 2022. Visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/available-funding-opportunities-ontario-government to see current government grants in Ontario. Congregations in other provinces can search for grants with their respective governments.

For more information about Stewardship & Planned Giving, call 1-800-619-7301 or 416-441-1111 or click the Contact Us button.

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