Here Comes Francis

The Stewardship Foundation supports the right to life. We believe that the purposeful taking of the life of an unborn child, in fact all innocent human life whether born or unborn, is morally wrong. We actively support the charitable planning development offices of pregnancy crisis centers like Heartbeat International and others. And we rejoice with Pope Francis as he celebrates life with a special gift of “mercy” —the absolution of the sin of abortion for all women of the world who had abortions, and all those who assisted in some way in abortions, whether it be a spouse, medical practitioner, abortion provider, parent, or friend.

In the United States, bishops and most diocesan priests have for decades had authority to absolve the sin of abortion for those Catholics who have asked for it with a contrite heart. But in many places in the world, this is not so. So the fact that during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, starting December 8, 2015, all priests will have the authority to absolve the Catholic sin or abortion ushers in a wonderful year for spiritual renewal!

Please pray for the Stewardship Foundation as we continue to advise and council pregnancy crisis centers in matters of financial support for their mission, and pray for Pope Francis that his message this month in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia is fruitful for the faithful in the U.S.

As Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a top advisor to Francis, recently told an audience at Georgetown University, “Let us pray for the visit of our Pope Francis to the United States,” he intoned. “It won’t be easy, but it will be a great blessing.”

Official site for the Pope Francis visit to the U.S.

Meet Me in St. Louis

st louis downtownFor several years now we have been blessed to partner with Heartbeat International whose mission is to provide pro-life pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. They represent the very touchstone of the foundation’s mission. In past years, we’ve always exhibited at their annual conference, but this year we are additionally blessed with the opportunity to present a workshop at the 2015 Annual Conference in St. Louis, April 7-10.

Our workshop, in many ways, reflects our own story of tenacity and survival. Like many of the pregnancy help centers across the country, we too have a bootstrap mentality. Competition in the donor pool is fierce, and it takes hard work, a creative mind, and constant prayer in order to survive.

For those involved with attracting donations and planning for sustainable growth, we hope to offer a compelling story. Our workshop, Beyond Survival: Generating Sustainable Gifts, is part of six workshops in the Fundraising Dynamics track. If you are going to the Conference, we hope you will choose to join us on Wednesday, April 8, as we share some of our creative techniques to turn cash donors into sustainable donors with gifts of stock and property. We’ll present simple to understand material that crisis centers can easily adopt into their everyday conversations with donors and supporters, and we’ll share how and why having a foundation backing development efforts is a wise move.

We will also once again support the work of Heartbeat International as Exhibitors. We look forward to networking with everyone and talking about how we can help organizations not just survive, but thrive in the coming years with sustainable gifts.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, we can’t help but say, “meet me in St. Louis.”

The Metaphor of the Jugs

Because you keep up with The Stewardship Foundation, you know that our mission is to champion, evangelize, and facilitate transformational giving as it pertains to gift planning. In the early days, when the foundation wasn’t much more than a twinkle in Joe Finneran’s eye, we turned to the miracle at Cana as a metaphor for transformation.

brochure jugsWith the help of friends who own better cameras that we do, we set out to create a visual representation of the miracle of changing simple water to wine. Taking the kinds of jugs and woven baskets usually found only at flea markets or Pier 1, we staged our props in a sunny outdoor location that we hoped might resemble a wedding garden. Our problem? Pouring water into the first jug, having the water turn into wine in the second jug, and spill over into the third jug. Where’s a good miracle when you need one? Our solution came through the miracle of Photoshop and the skills of our good friends and creative team at ActiveCanvas.

This month, we were honored to be “bronze sponsors” at the annual conference for Heartbeat International held in Charleston, SC where over 900 faithful servants gathered to be trained, equipped and inspired to celebrate the pregnancy help movement around the world. We had the opportunity to place a full-page ad in the conference brochure, so of course we used the jugs as the visual metaphor in our ad.

Whenever someone approached our display table, I asked him or her to check out our ad on page 69 and to stop by later with a thumbs up or thumbs down on whether our message resonated with them and if they understood the metaphor of the jugs. I was overwhelmed with the positive support we received about our message. Everyone “got it” and it was a fun and engaging way to get feedback on the idea and promote our gift planning services.

Pray with us that our planted seeds bear much fruit in the coming months.

— Jim Kebe