The Gilbert Spirit Fund was created to honor the 32 years of service of Rev. Richard and Joyce Gilbert to our church and community. Rev. Richard Gilbert served as Parish Minister of the First Unitarian Church from 1970 to 2002, and Joyce Gilbert, his wife, was very active in the church, especially in the field of music. Both of the Gilberts were deeply involved in the betterment of society beyond the walls of the First Unitarian Church.

The Gilbert Spirit Fund will lend support to programs/projects that reflect the special interests of Richard and/or Joyce Gilbert, giving preference to fresh ventures and new initiatives with existing endeavors. The funded programs/projects will:

  • Contribute to social or economic justice; or
  • Promote art and music as integral parts of a responsible search for meaning in life; or
  • Build or revitalize partnerships that support the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

Groups receiving funds must be nonpartisan and not-for-profit with 501(c)(3) status. Preference will be given to programs/projects that involve fresh ventures or new initiatives within existing programs, particularly those of a nature that other funding sources may consider too daring to support. Requested funds are not to be used for ongoing administrative expenses.

While the organization requesting funds must be outside the walls of our church, those that involve the interest and support of a significant number of First Unitarian congregants of all ages are particularly sought. The goals of the funded programs/projects must be specific, measurable, achievable, and congruent with the interests, commitments, and vision of Joyce and/or Richard Gilbert and with Unitarian Universalist values.

Requests for approximately $500-5,000 will be considered. The fund will make at least one substantial award annually to an endeavor that fulfills the criteria outlined above, giving preference to ventures that engage a significant number of First Unitarian Church congregants of all ages.

Each organization receiving funding is asked to complete an evaluation report and forward it to the Gilbert Spirit Fund Awards Panel no later than February 1 of the year immediately following receipt of funding. Grant recipients are asked to announce receipt of the grant or implementation of the funded program/project through their internal publications as well as appropriate news media. These announcements should indicate prominently the Gilbert Spirit Fund’s participation in providing the funding. Copies of the announcements should be included with the evaluation report documenting completion of the program/project.

The fund was chartered in December 2001 and made its first awards in June 2002. We will post the new application form by the October prior to the Feb 1 deadline.