The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF): Supporting and Transforming The Episcopal Church
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The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF): Supporting and Transforming The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) is a lay-led, inclusive organization that helps build, vitalize and transform Episcopal faith communities by focusing on formation, finance, and resources.

The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF): Supporting and Transforming The Episcopal Church

Through collaboration and problem-solving, ECF seeks to provide contemporary solutions to a Resurrection-focused Episcopal Church. The foundation's mission is to lead Episcopal faith communities into the future as a partner in ministry transformation.

Founded in 1949 by The Rt. Rev. Henry Knox Sherrill, ECF focuses on strengthening congregations and transforming ministry. Since its formation, ECF has raised funds, managed finances, and assets, and provided quality resources to the Church and the larger faith community.

When ECF was formed, churches throughout the country were becoming more centralized and adapting to a more corporate governance model. Sherrill understood the importance of modernization yet kept core beliefs and practices intact.

Inclusive Leadership

The Episcopal Church Foundation believes that all people are called to ministry and that everyone's voice is essential in the work of the Church. It elevates laypersons to a full partnership with clergy to inspire deep engagement and broad participation.

Expansive Community

ECF encourages a vital, inclusive, and sustainable Episcopal Church that produces devoted followers of Jesus. The Episcopal Church Foundation aims to encompass creativity, imagination, and innovation with energy, enthusiasm, and a spirit of service. It adapts as it learns with a sense of honesty, humility, good humor, and hope.

Racial Justice

ECF believes that racial justice is essential to its ministry and strives to become a diverse and anti-racist organization. It is committed to promoting racial justice, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of its work, from the programs it offers to its interactions with the community. It recognizes that racism is a pervasive problem that must be addressed and is dedicated to taking steps to dismantle racist structures and build a more just and equitable society.

Creation Care

ECF honors its responsibility as a caretaker of God's creation to address environmental racism and the climate change emergency. It grounds its efforts in knowledge, data, and expertise as it strives for continual improvement in all that it does. It seeks partners and collaborators to maximize its impact and outreach.

Endowment Management Program

When a church or faith-based organization has an endowment, it allows them to think beyond its annual operating budget and have a greater impact on its community. For over two decades, ECF has been helping churches and other organizations effectively manage their endowments so they can continue to make contributions while also planning for the future.

ECF's Endowment Management program helps churches establish endowments. It provides tools and resources that churches can use to build endowments, including a model endowment policy and templates for creating an investment committee and documenting gifts. In addition, the program offers support for churches as they work to secure pledges and donations. As a result of this program, participating churches are better equipped to manage their endowments, which can provide long-term financial stability and support important ministry programs.

Making A Mark

Learning from 73 years of operation, the Episcopal Church Foundation continues to move forward toward an innovative and creative future. ECF is devoted to positively impacting The Episcopal Church through transformation and renewal.

ECF has continued to grow and evolve due to the wisdom of leaders like Bishop Henry Knox Sherrill and the current president, Donald V. Romanik. In an interview, Romanik shares his experience of applying to work at ECF, "During that [application] process, when I sat down and put together a resumé, I felt it was the first time in my vocational/professional life that I was participating in a thoughtful, prayerful process of who I was, what was I passionate about and what was God calling me to do."

He joined ECF in 2005 and immediately began working on creating new strategies for the future. For example, the publication Vestry Papers started in print to help train and provide information to faith communities. Its distribution was just like any other print publication at the time. He anticipated that a switch from print to online would attract more readers and that ECF would be able to reach a lot more people.

He asked his team, "Is there any way you could come up with making Vestry Papers virtual?." In response, the website Vital Practices, an award-winning online resource, was launched in 2016.

Over the years, besides producing numerous publications, products, and services, ECF has started programs such as Listening Hearts for adults and Journey to Adulthood for children. ECF also helped establish a new bishop search process, created the College for Bishops, founded the Alban Institute, and set up the Revolving (church building) Loan Fund.

The Episcopal Church Foundation also has published numerous books such as the Finance Resource Guide in English and Spanish, the Vestry Resource Guide in English and Spanish, Funding Future Ministry, Writing Your Will, Planned Giving, and Planning for the End of Life. Romanik launched another book in February 2022 called Money Legacies.

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