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buy bricks from a virtual office!

The Anglican Heritage Foundation (AHF) -- not to be confused with:

  • the Anglican Heritage Society, which does -- well, I'm not sure what it does, as there's no trace of it outside of databases of nonprofits, and it's located in a mobile home in Lubbock, Texas -- and
  • the Anglican Foundation, Inc., which at the end of 2005 had net assets of a little over $16,000, takes four volunteers a grand total four hours per week to run, and seems just to be a corporate funnel of funds to Blessed Trinity Anglican Church of Alpine, California

... on July 9 made their biggest announcement to date. Actually, it's their only announcement to date, and their only activity I could find other than registering a domain name on March 9. The big announcement -- carried on the website of the American Anglican Council's Washington, DC chapter (appropriate enough, since the board of the AHF is identical to that of that AAC chapter) -- is of "the establishment of a Legal Defense Fund to assist Trinity Church, Bristol Connecticut [sic]" in their court battle with the Episcopal Church," and their call "upon Anglicans throughout the Communion to contribute ... through AHF's fundraising program, where the donation for an inscribed memorial brick paver will fund the Legal Defense Fund."

I'm sure that Trinity Church is thrilled that such a powerful foundation is coming to their rescue. And that's not all that the Anglican Heritage Foundation is going to do by a long shot: their website announces on its front page (and in boldface AND italics, so you know it's important) "a Nationwide Grant Program" that is "Building a Pathway to the Anglican Church, Brick by Brick" (they love Superfluous Capital Letters even more than A.A. Milne does, it seems). "This innovative grant program," they say, "will create a financial resource for Anglican missions, churches, clergy, and other non-profit organizations to assist them in their ministries when it is needed to build the Anglican Church."

I'm not sure that raising funds by selling "reservations" for bricks with the donor's name on them qualifies as "innovative"; we've all seen pathways and walls and such with such bricks, and the web site for the brick vendor, Gift Bricks® of Wisconsin, has lots of pictures showing examples from other organizations.

But there is one truly innovative thing about this campaign:

It's asking people to reserve real bricks from an organization with only a virtual location.

The Anglican Heritage Foundation is located at 611 Pennsylvania Ave. SE #1400 in Washington, DC -- and that's a box in a UPS Store. Must be a pretty big box to hold all of those bricks. Personally, I think that Welcometotheupsstore_2 given their location, they would have been smarter to go with inscribing donor's names on grains of rice. Vivanne Robinson, who writes names on bits of rice in Venice Beach, California, "is available to write Your Name on a Grain of Rice for Birthday Parties, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Company events, Fairs, or other special occasions," so I'm sure she'd be willing to contract with the Anglican Heritage Foundation, she clearly likes Capital Letters as much as they do, and they might be able to fit more than one donor-funded grain-of-rice "brick" in their UPS Store box. I wonder whether Vivianne could do a tiny golden compass rose on the rice, though. No matter; I'm sure that an organization able to come up with such an innovative program could figure out what other rice-grain-sized bonus could be given to premium donors. Maybe it would work to give them these ear rings to carry around their "donor brick" with 'First Edition Anglican Heritage Foundation Medallion'" with them.

But even without my brilliant plan to call grains of rice "bricks," the AHF has managed to launch their Nationwide Grant Program, meant particularly to benefit Anglican congregations in the U.S. dating from the colonial period, listed here on their website. I should let my old friend Ken Phelps, rector of historic All Saints Sunderland (founded in 1692) know about it. Ken is liberal enough to make me look very conservative indeed, but I'm sure the AHF will be glad to give them a grant and install one of their bricks at his parish.

I'd better move fast, though, if I want to help Ken with a successful grant application. Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion (LEAC) -- that organization providing (according to their website) "Bold Assistance Action Supporting the Orthodox" and that last October announced a conference (since cancelled) promising "THE MOST EXPERIENCED, DIVERSE ANTI-REVISIONIST TEACHERS EVER ASSEMBLED" to found "Team 2 Million, which will undertake a five-year expansion drive" -- is pleading for funds, since they "have no foundation or deep-pockets [sic] to help," and since David Bickel, President of the AHF, is also one of the founders of LEAC, I bet that LEAC will any second discover this well-oiled machine of a foundation bestowing grants nationwide.

And it looks like it wouldn't take long for LEAC to snap up the AHF's remaining funds. AHF Chairman Bradley Hutt says in a comment on VirtueOnline, "the money ... is currently in our pockets," and their pockets don't seem to be bulging particularly at the moment; Hutt says, "if we can get 10,000 of the faithful to donate $100 we will have $1,000,000."

So, anyone want to found the Anglican Communion Ministry Foundation (ACMF)? I've got some leftover curry and a couple of cans of Diet Coke in my fridge that we could give away in a Galaxy-Wide Grants Program, and if a billion of the world's Christians gave me a dollar, I'd have a billion dollars. It's in the bag!

July 11, 2007 in American Anglican Countil (AAC) | Permalink

Comments

Dylan, you have outdone yourself with this brilliant analysis ... not to mention your ingenius Galaxy-Wide Grants Program.

But I think I have spotted what is Truly Innovative about their program. According to their website: "All donors will receive a personalized individual brick . . . ." Every other time I've seen such a program, the bricks are laid -- usually on the beneficiary's premises; but not here. No, they're going to mail the bricks to the donors. Am I the only one who thinks that's rather bizarre?

One final addition to list of stuff that seems rather bizarre and ill-conceived. They say: "We will send your donation to a specific church group." But the online donation page -- while requiring very specific information about the donor -- doesn't seem to have a mechanism for designating a beneficary. Hmmmm ....

Posted by: Lisa | Jul 11, 2007 6:51:44 PM

I think they take the word "receive" in the phrase "receive a brick" metaphorically -- sort of like how they take Jesus' admonition to "give to all who ask" (Luke 6:30). Their website does say that donors will "receive a brick," but their announcement on the AAC-Washington site says that the brick will "be installed in a walkway to an Anglican Church whether it be a Historic Church or a new Church Plant request."

As for how they'll ascertain where you want the funds from your online donation to go -- or why people wouldn't just write a check to that congregation, instead of giving it to the AHF so the AHF can give it to the congregation -- is beyond my humble intelligence.

Posted by: Sarah Dylan Breuer | Jul 11, 2007 7:13:27 PM

You seem to have a particular vocation as one who identifies and exposes "Foundations" which are really just "x guys and a website."

Bravo Zulu

Posted by: Malcolm+ | Jul 12, 2007 12:24:11 PM

Brilliant, SDB! You have made what otherwise would be a dull day (meeting with bankers and my ophthalmologist being the only significant features) bright with laughter.

Posted by: Nigel A. Renton | Jul 12, 2007 1:37:13 PM

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