To improve the financial well-being of clergy under appointment in the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences by providing education debt reduction grants and resources to achieve financial health goals. Note: This grant was previously called the Student Debt Reduction Grant. It has been expanded to provide clergy with more resources and follow-up opportunities.
- The applicant is a provisional or ordained deacon or elder, associate member, or a licensed local pastor in good standing with the Dakotas or Minnesota Annual Conferences.
- The applicant has been under appointment for at least one year.
- The applicant is under appointment and actively serving a local UM congregation OR is under appointment and actively serving an extension ministry in the Dakotas or Minnesota OR has been under active appointment within the last year, but is currently on leave.
- The applicant is able to provide evidence of current student loan debt resulting from college or seminary education.
- The applicant can demonstrate the completion of personal financial education.
The applicant, as described above, is eligible to receive up to $5000 not to exceed the student loan payoff, renewable up to three years dependent upon the future availability of grants.
Steps in the Application Process:
- Complete the application by August 1, 2020.
- Provide responses supporting the completion of personal finance education. If personal finance education has not been completed, please contact Diane Owen, program director, at firstname.lastname@example.org completing the application for assistance in identifying appropriate financial education options.
- Provide evidence of student loan debt repayment commitment and current balance along with loan information needed for payment.
- Submit application and student loan debt information to Diane Owen at email@example.com mail to: Diane Owen, 122 W. Franklin Ave., Ste. 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404-2453.
Investing in Leaders Review Team and Process:
- The review team is comprised of the program director and staff of the Dakotas and Minnesota United Methodist Foundations along with United Methodist lay people from the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences. Clergy or staff of either Annual Conference are not part of the review team. All personal information provided is held in strict confidence and not shared with anyone outside of the team without your consent.
- The review team notifies the grant recipient of the applications status by September 15, 2020.
- The program director contacts the grant recipient to begin the exploration process for connection to resources. (See Exploration Agreement below.)
- A grant up to $5,000 is paid to the institution holding the loan within 60 days of the applications approval. The grant may be disbursed in one lump sum or in 12 payments over one year to one or more loan institutions.
- The CARES Act (Section 2206) enables employers to provide a student loan repayment benefit up to $5250 to employees on a tax-free basis. The provision applies to any student loan payments made by an employer on behalf of an employee after the date of enactment of the CARES Act and before January 21, 2021.
Do you experience anxiety and fear created by financial stress? Do you feel empowered to plan for your best future beginning now? Do you understand your relationship with money and how to manage that relationship versus allowing money to manage you? Do you have financial goals and a plan towards reaching those goals?
Improving financial well-being can best be achieved by exploring ones total financial health, not simply by addressing one area of debt. The Investing in Leaders granting opportunity extends beyond the $5000 education debt reduction grant and seeks to empower you by investing in you, connecting you to the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to explore, set, and achieve goals for financial health.
Therefore, once you are approved for the Investing in Leaders resourcing grant, this grant will include your participation in the exploration of your financial health and well-being on a deeper level by:
- Completing a brief written financial self-assessment
- Participating in a confidential conversation to review the results of the assessment with the program director, Diane Owen.
- Naming one or two goals that could improve financial well-being.
- Connecting with suggested resources that could help assist you with achieving your goals.
- Completing a follow-up assessment one year later.
If you have questions about the grant process or need additional resources, contact Diane Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org.