“We really didn’t know what to expect when we launched the Say Yes! to Kids campaign,” says the Rev’d Canon Dr. Judy Rois, Executive Director, Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC). “This is AFC’s first-ever peer-to-peer fundraising effort—a new idea for an established charity—and we have been surprised and impressed by the spirit of creativity and generosity with which it has been embraced across the country.”
Say Yes! to Kids is AFC’s response to concerns about COVID-19’s impact on young people. This national campaign is meant to have local impact by supporting champions for children, youth, and family ministry across the country as we face a post-pandemic world.
“The Diocese of Central Newfoundland understands the importance of helping children in our communities,” says The Ven. Terry Caines, Executive Archdeacon and AFC Representative for the Diocese of Central Newfoundland, “and by helping children in our communities, the Diocese believes that it is a way to build a better world, with better people. The Say Yes, to Kids campaign is a step in the right direction.”
“Children have had to endure so much as a result of the pandemic,” says Canon Rois, “social isolation, limited recreation, exposure to disharmony at home, depression, sleep difficulties, and emotional struggles. Say Yes! to Kids will ensure there is money available for homework clubs, nutrition and food security, private and group tutoring, safe outdoor recreation, mental health supports, and the many other courageous and creative ministries our church has the capacity to offer.”
Between online and offline donations, the campaign is nearing the $20,000 mark of its $100,000 goal. “It is an ambitious target,” says the Very Rev’d Peter Wall, Gift Consultant for AFC. “But an achievable one. It is all that more achievable thanks to an extraordinary matching gift of $25,000.” Wall explains the matching donation will be applied to the Say Yes! to Kids peer-to-peer portal and double the efforts of online fundraisers.”
To date there are close to ten Say Yes! to Kids fundraising teams registered, championed by Bishops, Diocesan Staff, AFC’s Diocesan Representatives, and individuals who are passionate about ministry and outreach to young people. “These teams are putting the fun in fundraising,” says the Rev’d Canon Amanda Taylor, AFC’s Diocesan Representative, and captain of the Anglican East NL Say Yes! to Kids fundraising team, “From community cleanup initiatives to Epic Online Game Nights, Canadian Anglicans are Saying Yes! to Kids in so many creative and wonderful ways.”
In some dioceses, teams are rallying around specific ministries they hope will benefit from the campaign. “In our meetings across the country, we are seeing the emergence of a national story about outreach to children and youth,” says Wall. “It’s a story about compassion in the face of crisis. There are tireless champions for young people across the Canadian church who have been undeterred by the pandemic. They know exactly where and how new investments can be used to make an impact.”
Helping to strengthen existing ministries is only one goal of the campaign. “We are working through our network of volunteers at the diocesan level to get people thinking about pilot projects,” says Wall, “and what they might do if they had some extra funding. In this way Say Yes! to Kids has the potential to both seed and sustain ministry.”
Since 2011, and the launch of the Kids Helping Kids Fund, AFC has invested over $1 Million in ministries that benefit children, youth, and young adults in Canada. Canon Rois says AFC will rely on the strength of its granting program to quickly turnaround Say Yes! to Kids campaign proceeds by funding a Request for Proposals (RFP) for youth-focused initiatives in fall 2021.
Say Yes! to Kids launched on April 6 and will run until June 30. For more information email [email protected]. To join a Say Yes! to Kids fundraising team, or to make an individual donation to the campaign, visit www.anglicanfoundation.org/kids.