2013 D.Thomason Grants

First Presbyterian Church Shreveport

First Presbyterian Church is blessed to have many members who have remembered the church through testamentary and life-time gifts to the Legacy Fund. These permanent gifts have enabled us to minister to the needs of others in the name of Jesus Christ above and beyond the work and gifts made possible through the church’s annual operating budget. D. Thomason is one member in particular whose testamentary gift has made possible the making of grants approaching $5,000,000 to support the work of our Outreach partners and Presbyterian ministries locally, nationally, and around the world.

D. Thomason grants for 2013 totaled $111,600. The recipients of the 2013 D. Thomason Grants were recognized and thanked for their good work during worship on February 9, 2014. Those receiving grants were:

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, for the seminary’s capital campaign

Church of Bangladesh, to fund laptop computers for a number of the church’s pastors

First Presbyterian Church-Natchitoches, to help fund HVAC repairs and sanctuary lighting

Holmes Chapel Presbyterian Church-Monticello, AR, to fund a program to assist students to stay in school and graduate

Joy to the World Ministries, to help fund a secondary school project in Dzuwa region of Malawi

Montreat Conference Center, to fund a new LCD projector for Anderson Auditorium

Mo-Ranch Assembly Center, to remedy a particular accessibility issue at the King Dining Hall

Providence House, to replace futons at the Cotton St. facility

Volunteers for Youth Justice, to support its youth diversion programs

The ARC of Caddo-Bossier, to support its pre-school/daycare program

Common Ground Community, Inc., to fund a portion of the cost of replacing a floor in its main building

Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, to fund the replacement of sorting tables

Highland Center Ministries, LLC, to fund the purchase of school uniforms (Maggie Lee’s Closet) and support for men’s clothing closet

Hope for the Homeless, for furnishings for the main day room of the drop-in center at the new Hope Connections

Interfaith Pharmacy, for prescription medications for its clients

Literacy Volunteers, for computers and furnishings for its students

Martin Luther King Health Center, to fund an upgrade of its electronic medical records system

Samaritan Counseling Center, to help convert to an electronic records system

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Calling All Stuffed Animals!

SafeHouse

Oftentimes when children enter the Safe House, they come with nothing other than the clothes on their backs. First Presbyterian will be collecting new and gently used stuffed animals on September 8th to help bring comfort to these children during an uncomfortable and sometimes scary time. While we ask that you not bring your donations to the church until Super Start-Up Sunday, please go ahead an begin collecting!

Update from HOPE

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A few months ago, the Community Foundation of Shreveport-Bossier and the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations shared an article with local nonprofit leaders that gave some startling statistics on how little faith most Americans place in the real impact nonprofits are making. However, thanks to the generosity of First Presbyterian Church, the HOPE for the Homeless team spent last week with 1600 people from around the country who are passionately seeking to make a once unimaginable impact – ending homelessness in America. We attended the National Alliance to End Homelessness annual conference in Washington, D.C.

The conference had speakers from HUD, the VA, funders and foundations, and agencies around the country who are actually ending homelessness in their communities and regions. There were common themes among all of these presenters: 1. There must be a centralized intake into the local homeless system. 2. Clients must be prioritized by need – placing those with the highest needs into housing first. 3. Changing into a true homeless system, instead of individual great programs, is mandatory.

I am thrilled to report that the homeless providers in Northwest Louisiana have been working together to create a model like this for the past few years. The problem is that change is REALLY hard! Many of the workshops that were held at the conference focused on change, and ultimately they said that agencies that are not committed to the goal of ending homelessness and refuse to change will be left behind. The great news is that most funders, faith communities, and the business community are ready for us to admit that a change is needed – ready for us to admit that what we have been doing has not made a very big impact.

The members of First Presbyterian have supported homeless services for many years, and I am thrilled to report to you that many members of our church are involved in HOPE’s local efforts to rally agencies together to solve this issue. For several years now, Circle 7 has partnered with the youth to bring sack dinners to Hope House once a month. Several PW Circles send generous checks every quarter. Sarah and Lauren have attended many of the HOPE Homeless Coalition Meetings to better understand the “big picture.” Also, the Outreach Ministry recently granted us funding to provide incentives gift cards for our annual 100,000 Homes Survey and paid our conference fees so that we could find real solutions to end homelessness. I could go on and on – like the Pathfinders consistently bringing laundry detergent and coffee to Hope House, or Mary Jane Lowder leaving secret stashes of laundry detergent and coffee in my carport once a month. It would be impossible to give the full picture of the role First Presbyterian’s members are playing in ending homelessness because the depth of your generosity is so great. 

Many of you know about our HOPE Connections Project where many agencies will co-locate to triage and fast track people into housing while also meeting their immediate needs. I am sure it will come as no surprise that many First Pres members are leading this effort either by serving on the HOPE Board of Directors or on the Capital Campaign Committee. I want to express my sincerest and deepest gratitude to all of you for your time, gifts, and talents as we embark on a new adventure and change the homeless system. If you would like to get more involved in our efforts, please let me know. We can end homelessness, and we want you to be a part of it!

Thank you,

Christa Pazzaglia 

HOPE for the Homeless