STEWARDSHIP, has reported being “humbled” by a £30.2 million increase in grants made to churches and Christian charities in the 2020 financial year, despite many charities seeing substantial drops in income due to the Pandemic. While some of this increase was a result of a change in Stewardship’s financial year-end and an extension in the reporting period from 12 months to 15 months, even when figures are annualised, grants out increased from 2019 levels by £6m (an increase of nearly 7%).
In total £115 million was distributed by the charity. Its 2020 Annual Report, now available on its website, shows that the additional grants were made possible thanks to growth in the number of individuals and families choosing to use Stewardship’s giving accounts; as well as a surge in online donations and gifts from over 40,000 generous Christians. Gifts made by Philanthropy Services clients, increased by 40% in real terms compared to 2019, with many increasing or accelerating their giving in response to the pandemic.
The Annual Report also details how the community served by Stewardship rallied to provide emergency aid as the country wrestled with the impact of the pandemic. Within 100 days of the first Lockdown in March 2020, Stewardship’s Rapid Response Fund raised and distributed £5.37 million in grants to 95 churches and Christian charities meeting local community needs.
The increase in giving and a strong balance sheet also enabled Stewardship to increase its own social impact investing, lending a further £3.2 million to Churches and Christian charities for a wide range of church building projects.
Janie Oliver, Stewardship’s new CFO who joined in February 2021, said
Despite the challenges of the past year, the story of 2020’s gifts in is an amazing one of growth in generosity. When the first lockdown hit us all in March 2020, the community of Christians we serve stepped up and we were humbled to see giving increase in the most remarkable way.
Stewart McCulloch, Stewardship’s CEO said:
In 2020, local churches and the charities equipping these 50,000 community based beacons for hope became the fourth Emergency Service. It was our privilege to match donors wishes with so many incredible projects providing Christian love and hope in very dark and worrying times. We want to honour the community of givers that we serve for their amazing generosity and the front line churches and charities for bringing hope to our nation at this time of great need.
Full details of how the grants were used can be found in the charity’s Annual Report, on its website at www.stewardship.org.uk/about-us/our-accounts
Written By: Paul Eddy