Daily Connector | Year-end donating | Joann Knapke

The excited anticipation of Christmas is always juxtaposed with a bombardment of requests from organizations begging for year-end donations from a hoped-for sense of generosity and a surplus of savings. How do you decide where and how much to donate? Do you have a formula that you follow to give certain percentages? Do you give to at least one organization in each of the categories such as: environment? animal welfare? education? mental health? social/racial justice? hunger?

How do you decide which causes are “good?” Do you look up on the internet the ratings of the different charities? Do you just go on the recommendation of a friend? Or do you just give to the church and the groups we support?

Paul and I have never been ones to be all that organized when it comes to giving. We give to the church and some extra to some of the groups the church supports. Then there are the requests that come from our alma maters and family/friends for causes like Pelotonia and The American Lung Association.  I am intrigued by the idea of picking a group in a variety of categories, since there are so many issues that are important to me.

I notice that Columbus Mennonite Church’s (CMC) donation focus is to organizations that help advocate for people affected by social injustice, food insecurity, and poverty. What about helping people by supporting groups specifically focused on the environment, climate change, and food production?

If you would like to donate to a group before the end of the year, you can send directly to the church* if the group is one CMC already donates to:
1) Food & Community Support: YWCA, NNEMAP, CRC
2) Social Justice: BREAD (local); Sanctuary/Edith (local/national); Supportive Communities (local/national); Habitat for Humanity (local/international); CPT (international); Montana de Luz (Honduras)
3) Mission work: IFI (Yasir in Sudan); Paraclete (David Emch in Thailand); Colombia Sister Church; Agora Christian Fellowship (local); Piecemakers (comforter supplies for blankets that go to MCC); MCC (national/international); SEMILLA (international)

* make payment to CMC with a memo note directing where you want the payment to go

You can send directly to a cause/group that is recommended on this website:
or other sites that rate charities.

At Columbus Mennonite Church, the treasurer reminds commission chairs of money remaining in their commission’s budget and advises that if there are purchases that are waiting to be made, these purchases need to be made by December 31st. “Use it or lose it.”

From the Mission Expense account, there was $700 unspent. Suggestions and requests were given to me, the Mission Coordinator, from various people in the congregation. Because of all of the generous offerings to maintain the budget we have, CMC was able to donate to a variety of organizations.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) set up a special Christmas Giving Project where people could donate to specific needs such as education for girls, water for communities, and animals for food and income. With needs being so great around the world I asked the treasurer to send $600 to MCC to apply where it is needed the most. From the donation sale of the old hymn books, another $340 was also sent to MCC.

For the remaining $100 in the Mission Expense Fund, Joel Miller suggested a donation to #justiceforcaseygoodson GoFundMe cause. Even though the group had made its goal to cover the funeral costs, we thought it important to show some kind of support.

The Mission Coordinator is also in charge of okaying spending in certain savings accounts. Now the savings accounts carry over from year to year, so there is not the urgency of year-end budget deadline. In December, from the Mission Project Savings Fund, $1,050.00 was sent to Montana de Luz in Honduras to help with hurricane relief, with approval from Marla Yoder-Tiedt who is CMC’s representative.

From an earlier request, extra money was put into a “separate” savings account for our YWCA Family Center “small group” to use if they needed more money to cover increased costs of providing chicken once a month. Not all of the money was needed for the chicken, but Nancy Franke asked about giving grocery gift cards for the center. Between the amount from the savings account and a giving decision of the Piecemaker’s group, Nancy was able to give the YWCA Family Center $1190.00 in gift cards.

So, thank you for your generosity.