Ways to Make a Donation
We welcome gifts of any size, whether a one-time gift or a regular recurring donation. Click here for a list of our funding needs. You can make a tax-deductible donation through any of the following methods:
Our federal tax ID number under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is 27-2341083.
Four Reasons to Donate to the Chalmers Center
1. Church-Centered Focus
Since its inception, the Chalmers Center has focused on equipping the local church and its missionaries to embody Jesus Christ by ministering to the physical, social, and spiritual needs of poor people. The Center is NOT opposed to para-church ministries. They too play a vital role in the fight against poverty. But if we want to minister holistically, addressing people’s spiritual needs in addition to their physical and social needs, then we must engage the local church in ministry to the poor, for God has committed the administration of the gospel to the local church.
Unfortunately, most poverty alleviation efforts ignore or even undermine the ministry of the local church. This is a huge mistake, for the church is God’s primary agent for transforming individuals, communities, and nations through its proclamation—in both word and deed—that Jesus Christ is bringing healing to every square inch of the cosmos.
In reality, churches are often the most trusted and stable institutions in low-income communities around the world. Long after donor funds have dried up and outside programs have disappeared, local churches will still be there, representing Jesus Christ to the blind, the lame, and the poor.
In a world that is full of uncertainty and instability, there is simply not a lower-risk, higher-return investment than the only institution about which Jesus Christ said,
“…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” — Matthew 16:18
2. Sustainable Impact
By design, the models that the Chalmers Center develops for churches to use are technically very simple and do not require large budgets to implement. This approach prevents the church from becoming dependent on outside technical support and donor funds even as it tries to help poor people without making them dependent on the church. As a result, the Chalmers Center prepares the church to have a sustainable, long-term impact on its community. In contrast, most poverty-alleviation efforts are highly dependent on outside technical experts and funds. When the donor money dries up, the experts and program funds leave the community, and the ministries end.
For example, one of Chalmers’ most innovative strategies is for churches to promote “user-owned and user-managed savings and credit associations” in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. That is a mouthful. Basically, we help churches to help poor people to start and manage what amounts to very simple credit unions. The poor save their own money and lend this money to one another. By design, these groups are very simple to operate, and they do not require donor funds for either operations or loan capital. Once poor people are trained to run these groups, they can do so on their own. In fact, once the initial savings and credit association gains some experience, it will typically train other groups to start their own savings and credit associations. Some have referred to this process as “viral, self-replication!”
A recent issue of Chalmers’ electronic newsletter, Mandate, includes an article that demonstrates this type of sustainability. An organization with which Chalmers has a relationship received grant money from the U.S. government to train churches to form these savings and credit associations. The grant money ended, but the savings and credit groups did not! Refer to the article “A Participatory Party in Mozambique” found in Issue #2 of the 2008 edition of Mandate.
3. Proven Products
The Chalmers Center tests its models and curricula in pilot projects before training others to use them. And we constantly revise and update our training processes and tools in light of lessons we are learning from the field.
By God’s grace, the Chalmers Center’s models and training have proven to be highly effective, helping thousands of churches and missionaries to minister to the poor across the United States and around the world.
You can see many examples of Chalmers’ impact by a) reading our educational newsletter, Mandate, b) reviewing our Chalmers Center working papers, or c) watching the Chalmers Center Africa video. But here are two quick samples:
After taking a Chalmers Center distance learning course—“Foundations and Principles of Holistic Ministry”—the Community Ministries Director at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church in Lecanto, Florida transformed her church’s community outreach to be less paternalistic. As a result, the participants now feel like a welcomed part of the church. The course was an eye-opener for the Director and exactly what she needed to enable her to minister to the poor more effectively. She has been able to eliminate many ways she used to think she was serving the poor but had actually been enabling them to manage their poverty. The Director no longer focuses on rescue and on how many boxes of food she can hand out. Rather, she focuses on long-term empowerment. Read more about this in the article “Broken But Beautiful” found in Issue #1 of the 2007 edition of our Mandate e-newsletter.
The Maasai Tribe of rural Kenya is a nomadic tribe that treats its women like cattle, sometimes using such horrific practices as female genital mutilation to allow husbands to continue to oppress their multiple wives. The Chalmers Center trained a consultant who then trained a Pentecostal denomination to reach out to the Maasai and other poor people across Kenya. The result is that Maasai women are being empowered to be productive, confident, and God-fearing, who are faithfully transforming their relationships with their husbands and are becoming role models to others in their communities. At the end of 2007, this denomination was ministering to 7,000 households and was ahead of its five-year goal of reaching 20,000. You can learn more about this in the article “Proverbs 31 Women in Tribal Dress” found in Issue #1 of the 2007 edition of Mandate.
4. Highly-Leveraged Strategy
The Chalmers Center does not directly implement anything. Rather, we train churches (and missionaries) to implement holistic, economic development ministries in their communities. Hence, your donation to the Chalmers Center is immediately leveraged by the human and financial resources of churches and missionaries around the world!
For example, Chalmers trained one individual who then trained a denomination in Kenya to minister to the needs of the poor in their churches and communities. As documented in a published journal article1, this project is going so well that is will likely exceed its five-year goal of reaching 20,000 households! As one donor put it, “Because Chalmers’ model is so heavily externally leveraged, they have accomplished, and continue to accomplish, loaves-and-fishes levels of return.” You can learn more about this in the article “Proverbs 31 Women in Tribal Dress” found in Issue #1 of the 2007 edition of Mandate e-newsletter.
In addition, Chalmers achieves a highly-leveraged impact because we intentionally design our strategies to be simple and highly replicable, even by grassroots churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For example, one of Chalmers’ premier strategies is to help churches to help the poor to own and operate their own savings and credit associations. You may have heard of the microfinance/microenterprise development movement started by Muhammed Yunus, the Nobel Laureate who formed the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Grameen’s model, which has been replicated all over the world, raises outside capital from donors or investors and then lends this capital to very poor people. In contrast, Chalmers’ approach to microfinance uses the savings of the poor as capital, meaning that our savings and credit groups can be formed in even the remotest parts of the world without having to wait for donor funds or large-scale programs. In fact, the poor are able to replicate these savings and credit groups on their own!
We observed a dramatic example of this self-replication in a church that was ministering to 50 HIV/AIDs sufferers in a slum in Kenya. Chalmers trained this church, along with many others, at one of our week-long, Christian Economic Development Institutes. The church took this training and helped these HIV/AIDS sufferers to form a savings and credit association. The members contributed their own savings and lent the accumulated money out to one another. Many businesses were started, and the members were restored to a sense of dignity and worth. The group meetings included Bible study and prayer, and people learned that they were loved and valued by God. These 50 individuals then used the savings and credit association methodology to minister to their own friends and relatives, helping them to form savings and credit associations that included Bible study and prayer. The end result is that 50 HIV/AIDS sufferers, the modern day equivalent of lepers in Kenya, were empowered to minister holistically to approximately 1,000 others! That is leveraging!! Read more about this in the article “God Has Chosen the Foolish and the Despised Things” found in Issue #1 of the 2007 edition of our Mandate e-newsletter.
1 Roy Mersland, “Innovations in Savings and Credit Groups: Evidence from Kenya,” Small Enterprise Development, vol. 18, no. 1, March 2007, pp. 50-56.
Leverage Your Gift
Help the Chalmers Center further through a matching grant from your employer.
If you have a question about the Chalmers Center or if you want to talk about a possible donation, contact Karis Tucker at 706-956-4362 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support.