CRWRF – 2020-2025 OPERATING POLICIES, GOALS AND STRATEGIES
This document contains the updated policy guidelines, SMART goals, and related strategies, which the board of the Canadian Reformed World Relief Fund (“CRWRF”) intends to use as its primary guide for its operations for the next five years. The terms of this document were adopted by the board at its meeting held on April 6, 2020 and approved and ratified by the member churches at the Annual General Meeting of CRWRF held on May 27, 2020.
2.0 BACKGROUND/FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES
In 1965 CRWRF was established “for the purpose of providing Christian charity to any area of the world that was in need of such.” Through the years since the founding, this purpose has continued to be the underpinning of the work of CRWRF. In order to ensure continued commitment to this purpose the Fund has affirmed the following two foundational principles:
1. We believe that “all gifts which we possess are bestowed by God and entrusted to us on the condition that they be distributed for our neighbour’s benefit”1; and
2. In the Bible, we are instructed to meet the temporal2 needs of the poor and oppressed3 by showing generosity, charity, mercy and kindness in any area of the world, especially to those in the household of faith,4 in thankfulness for the salvation we have in Jesus Christ.5
The day-to-day work of CRWRF is, and will continue to be, guided by the following mission, values and operating guidelines.
CRWRF is a Christian charity that connects church members and churches to their neighbours around the world, helping them to respond to their biblical calling to show mercy and love to those in material need, in a stewardly manner via Christian-motivated partners.
1. Value all people as created in the image of God;
2. Build capacity through community-based empowerment (walking alongside);
3. Work through Christian-motivated partners;
4. Operate through a volunteer working board and committees; and
5. Act as good stewards by being transparent and legally compliant, and managing all resources responsibly.
5.0 GENERAL OPERATING GUIDELINES
5.1 Disbursement of Funds
1. Our available financial and personnel resources are limited by the volunteer nature of CRWRF’s operation, and therefore the distribution of our assistance in foreign countries requires cooperation with other Christian churches and organizations.
2. Our status as a registered Canadian charity requires compliance with the applicable laws of Ontario and Canada, specifically as such laws relate to the ability to maintain supervision and control over the funds which are distributed in a foreign country.
3. Our fiduciary responsibility is to the churches that are the members of CRWRF.
4. Our funds are distributed through trusted avenues that are proven to be reliable, honest and, whenever possible, Christian in character.
5.2 Partnership Guidelines
5.2.1 CRWRF seeks to work with partners that apply the following general principles to their projects or programs:
1. Address needs which result from the temporal circumstances of the recipients;
2. Ensure they are legally compliant and are managed responsibly through a transparent and efficient use of financial, material and personnel resources;
3. Operate consistently with biblical principles;
4. Work to build capacity of recipients, so as to reduce dependency; and
5. Accompanied by a faithful Christian witness, whenever possible.
5.2.2 CRWRF Capacity: CRWRF will limit long-term commitments to any one organization to not more than 50% of the fund’s annual expenditures at the time the commitment is made.
5.2.3 Partner Capacity: CRWRF will ensure at minimum the following:
1. Statement of faith or confessional basis, and statement of mission, vision, principles, values exist and are provided to CRWRF;
2. Organizations have the staff and structures to carry out the project;
3. Positions are filled by qualified national staff whenever possible;
4. National staff are fairly compensated, especially in the local context;
5. Foreign personnel are oriented in local language and culture, and have the required expertise; and
6. Training and preparation are provided to national staff in order to fill foreign staff positions in the future as much as possible.
5.2.4 Partner Cooperation: Partners must demonstrate that they:
1. Cooperate and seek to complement rather than duplicate assistance by others;
2. Engage and work alongside the local church and its members, whenever possible;
3. Develop programs that are compatible with national, regional and local needs and goals;
4. Comply with national and local laws that relate to them;
5. Are willing to challenge existing systems and laws that they believe are unjust, while continuing to adhere to due process; and
6. Will use funds wisely, and provide CRWRF with all required financial and other reporting requirements.
5.3 Program Review & Evaluation
5.3.1 CRWRF will dedicate resources and CRWRF representatives (board members or as otherwise determined by the board) to participate in review and evaluation activities both on the field and with project personnel visiting Canada to ensure that:
1. Projects are achieving targets and work towards agreed-upon objectives;
2. Partners continue to be in support of, and act in a manner consistent with, CRWRF principles and approaches to development challenges;
3. We have an understanding of lessons learned and future directions;
4. Proposed solutions to issues of concern are openly discussed and agreed to by all partners;
5. There are face-to-face in-person meetings with our partners on the field at least once every 3 years, to the extent feasible.
5.3.2 Program/Partnership Terms: Agreements will be reviewed and considered for renewal at least every 5 years.
CRWRF will work towards becoming more refined in its evaluation of project proposals, project outcomes and reporting (see section 7.0 herein - 2020 – 2025 Goals and Related Strategies).
5.4 Allocation of Funds
CRWRF will continue, as a rule, to endeavour to provide Christian charity to any area of the world that is in need of such, guided in its distribution of funds by the following allocation framework:
1. Disaster Relief & Rehabilitation including: (30%-40% of available funds)
a. HIV/AIDS response
b. flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters
2. Development including: (50%-60% of available funds)
a. Child Development
b. Community Development
3. Global Awareness Education: (10%-15% of available funds)
a. Faithworks Sub-Committee Work b. School curriculum publications
The percentages allocated among the program categories above are intended to serve as guidelines, with the understanding that from time to time, and at any time, circumstances and needs as determined by the Board will permit deviation.
5.5 Board & Board of Director Terms
CRWRF is a volunteer, working board of 5 to 12 members. It is supported by paid staff as approved by the membership in the annual budget.
CRWRF board follows its bylaws with respect to offices and terms. As such:
1. Members of the board are eligible to serve an unlimited number of consecutive three-year terms, subject to the approval of the members;
2. Amongst the members of the Board there is a chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer.
3. Members have specific roles or project for which they are responsible;
4. The Board will meet approximately every 6 weeks; and
5. Board members are recruited from ‘eligible’ churches as per the bylaws. All members of the board sign a confidentiality agreement on an annual basis.
6.0 PROGRAM FOCUS
6.1 Relief and Rehabilitation
CRWRF responds to disasters through partners who:
1. Have a presence in the disaster area and are equipped with adequate personnel, infrastructure and logistical capability to respond;
2. Mediate for the marginalized;
3. Determine response after gathering the best available information about the situation;
4. Ensure that assistance methods are compatible with local living conditions;
5. Work with local leaders to assist the victims to become self-reliant as soon as possible after a disaster, moving them from a dependent situation to empowerment; and
6. Collect and report appropriate financial and project data as required by CRWRF guidelines, requirements, and agreements.
6.2 Child & Community Development
CRWRF selects partners who:
1. Seek to address the causes of poverty, not just decrease its effects;
2. Increase capacity through the development of new skills and abilities;
3. Promote community-wide benefits with special concern for the most needy and vulnerable groups in society; and
4. Work towards local sustainability by employing technologies that are appropriate to available economic, human, and environmental resources.
6.3 Faithworks Committee
The Faithworks Committee selects partners who:
1. Have a long-term presence in the community and run programs that reflect development;
2. Have the capacity to host a Service and Learning Team (SALT);
3. Have the capacity to provide medical and emergency care/evacuation;
4. Provide the opportunity to participate in worship and praise with the local assembly of believers; and
5. Support Faithworks’ desire for team members to become aware of God’s global church-gathering work, gain a greater respect for people who live differently, and learn practical ways to love and bless their neighbours around the world.
7.0 2020-2025 GOALS & RELATED STRATEGIES
The Board has set three SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant and Timely) goals; the strategies to attain those goals are laid out below.
7.1 SMART Goal #1
Over a period of five years, we will allocate funds to develop promotional material to increase awareness about what CRWRF is and what we do, to be used to establish a liaison network with our member churches and to churches outside current membership.
1. Establish and refresh our liaison networks in current member churches;
2. Develop strategies to use technology effectively to meet informational needs and demands of our members;
3. Develop a promotional strategy to expand and strengthen our support network;
4. Articulate and communicate who we are (i.e. foundational principles) and our model of operations; and
5. Explore opportunities to engage in projects that involve sister churches or churches belonging to the International Conference of Reformed Churches (“ICRC”) or the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (“NAPARC”).
7.2 SMART Goal #2
Over a period of five years, we will sequentially develop frameworks for project selection, project evaluation, and reporting. Project evaluation will include protocols for on-site visits.
1. Develop frameworks for project selection, reporting, and evaluation;
2. Develop protocols surrounding site visits (include training before and reporting afterwards); and
3. Where applicable, maximize local capacity to move towards self-sufficiency through our projects.
7.3 SMART Goal #3
Over a period of five years, we will articulate/set out the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders of the organization (board, staff, members) and how they interact, with a view to increasing capacity and efficiency, whilst maintaining a lean “working board” model.
1. Determine how to increase capacity while maintaining volunteer working board status;
2. Review the expense ratio/budget challenge; and
3. Articulate and clarify role descriptions and committee descriptions, and develop succession and new member orientation plans.
7.4 Timing and Priorities
Although the three SMART goals are all scheduled over the next five years, the intention is to allocate time and resources to all three in some measure at all times, with greater resources and time reflecting priorities in the order presented above.
In our support for Christian relief and development work, we seek to be an avenue for our constituency to address the temporal needs of our neighbour. We take inspiration and direction from the writing of a highly respected and godly man of the historic 16th century Reformation, John Calvin, who said this about our neighbour: Now since Christ has shown in the parable of the Samaritan that the term neighbour includes even the most remote person (Luke 10:36), we are not expected to limit the precept of love to those in close relationships. I do not deny that the more closely a man is linked to us, the more intimate the obligation we have to assist him. It is the common habit of mankind that the more closely men are bound to together by the ties of kinship, of acquaintanceship, or of neighbourhood, the more responsibilities for one another they share. This does not offend God; for his providence as it were leads us to it. But I say we ought to embrace the whole human race as it were in a single feeling of love; here there is no distinction between barbarian and Greek, worthy and unworthy, friend and enemy since all should be contemplated in God, not in themselves. When we turn aside from such contemplation, it is no wonder we become entangled in many errors. Therefore, if we rightly direct our love, we must first turn our eyes not to man, the sight of whom would more often engender hate than love, but to God, who bids us extend to all men the love that we bear to him, that this may be an unchanging principle: whatever the character of the man, we must yet love him because we love God [emphasis added].6
May we, with the support and prayers of our member churches, honour God in our task throughout this world and be a true blessing to our neighbour.
The Board of CRWRF