Greater Good Project
What is the Greater Good Project?
It's an all-church community endeavor, to bring meaning back to the holidays and tap into the strength and power of the spirit of the season. Each of us is asked to tally what we used to spend on the holiday season including presents, wrappings, trimmings, travel, food, and entertainment. Then take that number and cut it in half, and contribute that amount to a project at the church - a gift to the Greater Good. The children of the church vote on which (two) of several applicant charities will share the donated money. Since this endeavor was initiated in 2006, we have collected over $400,000 from members and friends of the church and members of the larger community. These contributions remind us of needs greater than our own and make "living simply so others can simply live" worth the effort and small sacrifice! You can view information on the projects funded for 2006 through 2012 using the menu at right.
This holiday season, we encourage you to live simply so that others may simply live. Checks may be brought to the Greater Good services December 14 and 15, or sent to the church office anytime, and should be made payable to the First Unitarian Church, with "Greater Good" on the memo line. If you wish to honor someone by making a Greater Good contribution in his or her name, please use the form available through the link at upper right; you'll also find a link to a printable card you can use to inform them of your gift. (Print 2-sided "short-end binding", cut, and fold.)
2013 Project Recipients
The Coffee Connection
The Coffee Connection is a nonprofit business providing comprehensive continuous support to women in recovery from addiction. Women receive on-the-job training in all aspects of operation of the coffee shop (on South Ave.), as well as learning skills such as conflict resolution, managing emotions, taking responsibility for their sobriety, and other social skills and behaviors that will enable them to re-enter society and find sustainable employment to provide for their children. Greater Good funds will enable creation of four additional positions for women with children who want to stay on as full-time employees, and would expand the scope of training offered to many more women, including technology skills and equipment, to better prepare them for employment beyond Coffee Connection. More broadly, The Coffee Connection also empowers small farmers in many countries (including Peru, Guatemala, Sumatra, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua) by selling only fair-trade, organically-grown, sustainably-farmed coffee (which is roasted at the South Avenue store). Locally, their business model seeks to reduce the costs of social services needed in the community as women move from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.
Micro-Financing and Community Development Task Force
The mission of this new task force at First Unitarian is to support economic growth and community development in targeted areas of the City of Rochester by providing small loans and related financial assistance and mentoring services to individuals and small businesses. This is a partnership with the Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union (GCFCU), and is designed to build an adequately funded and self-sustaining program. Applicants for microloans must meet GCFCU criteria for credit-worthiness, and the business must be compatible with Church values. Greater Good funds will provide a seed for this "bank," and other sources of funds will also be sought. As loans are repaid, the money will be available to loan again - a gift that keeps on giving. Mentoring and financial training will be provided for clients to enhance their probability of success; the hope is that many First Unitarian members will help by participating in this critical educational aspect of the project.
Exploring the Relationship Between Meaning and Money: Resources
- Speaking of Faith Radio Show: "Money & Moral Balance"
- Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child's ATM, a book by Nathan Dungan
- Money and the Meaning of Life, a book by Jacob Neeldeman
November 14 2013