As we mature as an organization and as individuals, looking out for our own becomes increasingly important. The desire expressed by several ONs to help others from PPS family lead to efforts to maintain a “benevolence fund,” that is a monetary reserve kept in order to help those in need. The purpose of this fund is that it collects money, as donations, which can be used to aid ONs, and the larger PPS family, with unexpected or high medical expenses, victims of natural disasters and other hardships.
For the administration of this fund we will appoint a diverse committee who will see that the monies are distributed fairly and to persons truly in need. The fund is in its infancy stage and your constructive ideas and input is welcome.
We strongly believe that documenting is essential for protecting the organization, putting in place checks and balances, and for the fund’s maintenance and oversight.
What we recommend as the Benevolence Fund’s best practices Do’s:
- Adopt and adhere to a written policy.
- Make distributions from a general fund or benevolence fund.
- Pay assistance directly to service providers (rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.).
- Allow contributions only to the fund, not to any specific individual or family.
- Develop adequate criteria to determine individual need.
- Document the need including external verification for larger amounts.
- Assign a diverse committee to approve requests.
- Include reasonable limits of support per person during a specified time period.
- Determine the kinds of needs that will receive support, keeping in mind typically assistance is allowed for basic needs: food, shelter, clothing and medical.
Benevolence Fund’s Don’ts:
- Distribute funds to people without supporting documentation.
- Disburse funds out of a bookstore cash register or out of uncounted offerings.
- Disburse funds without a written record of the transaction.
- Give one individual control over benevolence distributions, without oversight or accountability measures in place.
If you know someone who is going through an exceptionally hard time, please recommend their case for consideration. Do keep in mind that not every request will be approved. In cases where the committee decides that the case, though worthy but, does not fall under the fund’s mandate, the committee might refer it for individual donations.
As always, your thoughts, comments and ideas are welcome.