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D7 Benevolence Policy

Page history last edited by Loraine 4 years, 5 months ago

 

DATE:

Sept 7, 2011

Congregation & Community

REFERENCE

    D7

REVIEWED/

REVISED:

Nov 23, 2015

Benevolence Policy

Approved By

Admin Team

 

SECTION ONE:  PURPOSE

 

People in need matter to God.  No individual in the community who is willing to receive help in Christ’s name should be without food, shelter and other basic needs.

 

 

            Furthermore, God’s people are commanded to care for each other,

 

            “Bear one another’s burden and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:2.

 

            and give to the people in need,

 

      “Whoever has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17.

 

As an integral part of the ministry of our church, the Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to individuals or families who are experiencing financial or material needs (see also Matthew 25:31-46).  This policy provides direction on administering the fund.

 

 

SECTION TWO:  Policy

 

 

  1. Assistance will be provided only as resources are available.  The benevolent fund remains under the direction and control of the administration team who is responsible for the church’s charitable resources and will be administered in accordance with this policy.

 

Funding sources are as follows:

 

A.         Benevolent Fund

 

            i)          Funds designated by the donor for the benevolent fund.

 

            ii)          The church may allocate funds from the general fund to the benevolent fund as part of the annual budget process.

 

B.                    Project Fundraising

 

            i)          The administration team may approve a demonstrated need that is more than available funds.   Designated gifts toward an approved benevolent project will be used as designated with the understanding that when a given need has been met as determined by the Administration Team, any excess will be used for other benevolent projects.   All special appeals must clearly display this understanding.

 

ii)          The church will refuse gifts designated toward a specific benevolent project before the approval of the project.

 

iii)         Fundraising for a specific project will only be approved if the project meets al guidelines of this policy as a whole.  The required ‘needs’ documentation must be completed before the approval of the project.  Caution is to be exercised when it can be reasonably expected that financial support for the project will come from only a small group of individuals, especially when the expected donors are closely related (i.e. non-arm’s length) to the needy individual(s).

 

  1. There are three levels of approved benevolence ministry:

 

  1. Basic

     

    i)          Food vouchers/gas/prescriptions etc. paid directly to the supplier, up to a maximum per calendar year of $275 for individuals and $475 for families may be approved by the senior pastor or designate in accordance with Guidelines set out in Section Three (7).

     

    Total Basic Non-Cash Benevolence shall not exceed $300 $500 in any one month (increased November 23, 2015 by Admin Team).   The Chairman of the Administration Team shall review and sign off on basic non-cash benevolence each quarter

     

     

    ii)          Cash benevolence up to $150/situation, maximum of $475 per calendar year per recipient may be approved by the senior pastor. 

     

    An acknowledgement receipt signed by the recipient is sufficient documentation for this level of assistance.

     

    Repeat support beyond the maximums per calendar year places the assistance at the Intermediate Level. 

     

  2. Intermediate (Food vouchers, etc. over the basic level or cash  $750.00)

     

    The senior pastor (or any voting member of the administration team in the absence of the senior pastor) may approve this level of assistance with the administration team chair being advised in writing.  Documentation shall consist of completed Benevolence Assistance Form.  Where repeat basic support has placed the assistance at the Intermediate Level the individual shall provide their social insurance number and address in addition to signing the acknowledge receipt.

     

    Repeat support at this level places the assistance at the Advanced Level.

     

  3. Advanced (over $750.00)

     

    This level of assistance per situation may be approved by two members of the administration team, or senior pastor and one member of the administration team.  The senior pastor/administration team member or designate will evaluate eligibility in accordance with the guidelines contained in this policy.  Documentation shall consist of completed Benevolence Assistance Form and report in accordance with guidelines contained in Section Three (6C).  Where repeat intermediate support has placed the assistance at the Advance Level, the individual shall provide their social insurance number. 

     

    Note:  Administration team members and those consulted must disclose conflicts of interest (e.g. where proposed assistance involves a family member) and excuse themselves from the related discussion and decision.

     

  4. Private charity between individuals will be encouraged.  The Church may facilitate individuals carrying out private benevolence, however it cannot allow funds to be channelled through the church and will not fund or receipt any benevolence the law considers to be private benevolence.

 

  1. In granting assistance, care should be taken to ensure that those who are being supported are not enriched as a result of receiving the support.  E.g. fire insurance may cover all costs associated with a loss; the deceased might have purchased a life insurance policy that will meet all the needs of the family; the unemployed may be eligible for wage loss insurance.

 

  1. To provide relief assistance, the responsible individuals in the church must determine the amount of support to be given on a “needs and means test” basis as well as the eligibility for support (see Guidelines in Section Three).  Needs are determined on the basis of total reasonable expenses less all sources of current income.  Means are determined on the basis of non-essential assets that might be sole to meet the need.  However, a person in temporary need will not be required to liquidate assets such as an RRSP, family home, farm/business that will generate future family income.

 

  1. If relief assistance is provided, that is called “social assistance” for purposes of the Income Tax Act, the church must issue a T5007 to the recipient; except in situations clearly exempted by the act.   Except in exempted situations, the recipient must report the assistance on their annual tax return, but may be deducted before the taxable income line.   Consequently, the individual’s net income line is affected, but tax will not be paid on the relief assistance provided by the church.  Exemptions are:

 

  • Medical expenses

  • Child care expenses

  • Funeral expenses

  • Legal expenses

  • Job training or counselling expenses

  • A series of payments in the year that together do not exceed $500, and

  • Payments that are not part of a series.

     

  1. Care shall be taken to ensure confidentiality of those being considered and/or approved for assistance.

 

 

SECTION THREE:  Procedures

 

  1. Fundraising

a)         We take up a benevolent offering monthly, coinciding with communion.

b)         When fundraising for a project in accordance with policy item 2B, the project will be announced from the pulpit and statement included in the bulletin in accordance with this policy.

 

  1. Documentation & Payments:

a)         All documentation for benevolence will be signed by the senior pastor (or administration team member in his absence) and administration team chair and will be kept in locked storage by the administrator.

b)         Documentation for non-cash benevolence will be reviewed quarterly by the senior pastor and admin team chair.

c)         Benevolent payments will only be processed upon written authorization from any member of the administration team or the senior pastor.   A copy of the supporting documentation will be filed with the authorization.

 

3.  Reporting:

a)         The administrator will provide the administration team with a report every four months providing information on type of benevolence given but not including names.

b)         The administrator will review all individual benevolent records and issue a T5007 slip in accordance with the requirements of the Income Tax Act.

 

4.   Guidelines to Determine Need, Eligibility and Evaluation Process:

 

      A)   Determining Need

 

i)    The need of an individual or family may come to the senior pastor’s attention during the course of ministry, or by referral from a third party.

ii)    A dependent individual’s need must be assessed in consultation with the person who has legal responsibility for the individual and the financial status of the legal parent or guardian will be taken into consideration.

iii)   Other sources of community assistance, including support from other area churches, may need to be verified.

 

      B)   Eligibility

 

  i)    All assistance, including reporting, shall comply with the requirements of the Income Tax Act and Regulations.  The assistance must be charitable under the law.

 

ii)     Token assistance (e.g. basic assistance) may be provided as a tangible demonstration of moral support without meeting all of the eligibility criteria.

 

iii)    A person in the community whose current status is financially or materially ‘needy’.  Support will not be restricted to members.

 

iv)    Needs that will be considered for benevolent assistance include the following:

      a.   An accident that results in financial needs.

      b.   An unavoidable unemployment situation.

      c.   Families that encounter legitimate financial difficulties:

  • Individuals that are in need of special education/ training opportunities due to social, emotional, delinquency or related difficulties.  These opportunities should serve to help the individual for the greater good of society in the short and long-term.

  • Medical treatments and related expenses prescribed by a recognized a Canadian medical professional not covered by a public or private insurance/medical plan.

          d.   Other situations of demonstrated need.

     

    v)     When financial assistance is provided consideration should also be given to meeting the spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and other needs of the party receiving assistance.  This will be done in consultation with the pastoral staff and/or the care team and/or other qualified professionals.

     

    vi)     The Church will not participate financially (funding or receipting) in projects which the law considers to be private benevolence.

     

          vii)  Needs NOT usually considered for benevolent assistance          

          a.   Discretionary expenses (e.g., vacations).

          b.   Treatments not prescribed by a recognized Canadian medical professional.

          c.   Business needs arising for any reason.

          d.   Insured losses.

          e.   Individuals on social assistance (except for types of assistance that are not considered to be ‘income’ by the relevant funding agency, to be determined in advance by consulting with a knowledgeable employee of the funding agency).

          f.    Where an individual or those legally responsible for the individual are determined to have adequate resources, unless the individual has been rejected by those persons (e.g., because of faith).

          g.   Projected and future needs (e.g., education fund for an orphaned child).

     

          viii) Duration of charity

          a.   The church will provide assistance for a specific need that is not expected to involve a long-term commitment.

          b.   When a major need arises, other possible sources for assistance will be explored with the party in need (e.g., community and/or government programs).

     

  1. Evaluation for Advanced Assistance:  The senior pastor or designate evaluating a case for assistance is responsible to evaluate the financial resources available to the person (including government support and resources available from other family members/significant others) being considered for advanced assistance, by reviewing copies of the most recent tax returns, pay stubs, and/or financial statements, etc.  A written report that includes the process followed in evaluating the need will be attached to the Benevolence Assistance Form for review by the administration team member co-approving the request.   Such documentation must be signed by the senior pastor (or administration team member in his absence).

     

    5.     Procedures for Basic Benevolence (Approved by Admin Team May 9, 2012)

     

                A.    Basic Non-Cash Benevolence (Food vouchers/gas/prescriptions, etc. paid directly to the supplier.

     

                       As much as is possible, to enable appropriate handling of repeat requests, the Administrator or Office Assistant will handle basic non-cash benevolence.  In an emergency situation any paid staff member may handle.

     

    First-time support for basic non-cash benevolence will be granted on request as follows:

    Food Vouchers – Individuals – maximum $50, Family – maximum $100

    Gas/Prescriptions etc. – Maximum $75

    Emergency Accommodations – Maximum $100

     

Repeat support will be granted to a maximum of $275 for individuals and $475 for families in any one calendar year.   Subsequent requests places the assistance at the Intermediate Level.

 

Total non-cash benevolence is not to exceed $300 per month.

 

B.    Basic Cash Benevolence up to $150/situation

 

The senior pastor or any voting member of the administration team may approve this level of assistance.   

 

Repeat support of basic cash benevolence over $475 in any one calendar year places the assistance at the Intermediate Level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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