When the Congregational Church of Deerfield, a northern suburb of Chicago, closed its doors in 2016, they wanted their leftover money to go to good use. Teaming up with United Church Funds (UCF), they decided to give back to local, UCC-affiliated nonprofits, including those focused on affordable housing and senior health and wellness. This included a $12,000 donation to Embrace Living Communities’ “Let’s Get Moving Together” Initiative.
“Let’s Get Moving Together” is an initiative aimed at increasing senior health and wellness in our communities. Through the 12-week campaign, seniors engage in educational presentations about healthy cooking and eating, nutrition and the benefits of physical activity while participating in a walking challenge. This walking challenge is made possible with the support of donors like the Congregational Church of Deerfield, whose support provided participants with wearable fitness device technology. The wearable fitness device gives seniors a greater feeling of independence as they are able to monitor and measure their physical activity, providing them an overall greater sense of control over their health.
UCF had many conversations with the Congregational Church of Deerfield about their priorities and goals for their money through the Legacy Fund. This led to UCF introducing the church to Ralph Gaines, CEO of Embrace Living Communities, who shared details about the newly formed senior health and wellness initiative at Embrace Living.
“Embrace Living’s proposal was unique and innovative, and the idea that [Deerfield] would help seniors be more connected and healthy, especially during these exceptionally challenging last two years, was important,” said Matt Wagner, Vice President of Institutional Relationships at UCF.
“Embrace Living was a good fit for our support because we were interested in helping nonprofits that provide housing for people in need,” said Harriet Dart, Associate Pastor at Congregational Church of Deerfield. “Embrace Living’s mission also aligned with our church’s purposes, which includes serving the welfare of our community.”
With the help of donors like the Congregational Church of Deerfield, residents are able to receive more comprehensive, beneficial senior health and wellness programming that promotes independence and overall well-being.
“I would like to thank the Congressional Church of Deerfield and United Church Funds for their generous support,” says Embrace Living Communities CEO Ralph Gaines. “We believe health and housing are vitally connected, and the well-being of our residents is paramount to building a community environment that residents can call home.”
About United Church Funds
UCF is a professional investment management firm that serves faith-based 501c3 organizations and churches, helping them invest and donate their money. One of the ways they do this is through their Legacy Fund, which grew organically out of churches coming to UCF asking what their options were as they sold church buildings or transitioned their ministry. The idea is that churches can leave their assets in a covenantal, quasi-trust environment where UCF manages assets based on instructions left by the churches that have closed.
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