Volume 15, Number 23 | December 1, 2021 | www.citygatenetwork.org


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Early-Bird Registration Open

 

 

Only Two More Weeks to Register for San Antonio at the Early-bird Rate
Don’t miss getting the best rate available for our 2022 Annual Conference and Exposition in Texas, next June 1–4. The Early-bird rate will end at midnight on December 15, so you’d better get a move on. The November/December issue of Instigate includes an eight-page brochure, but if you don’t have that in front of you, go online right now to view the Flipbook version and sign up. A sampling from the workshop lineup we’re putting together includes: “Guarding the Heart of the Mission,” “Remote Workforces and Missions,” “The Emerging Role of the Medical Case Manager,” “Overcoming Leadership Blind Spots,” “Employee Self-Care,” “Trauma-informed Facility Design,” and many more.

 

Bylaw Change Motion Receives Go-Ahead
Citygate Network members overwhelmingly voted to pass the board-recommended bylaw change that allows the member-elected governance body to adjust the document in the days ahead, as opposed to requiring the entire membership to approve even minor modifications. The vote aligns with the results of the 2020 Member Loyalty Study that showed only 16 percent thought all members should weigh in on any and all alterations. The ballot measure does not apply to the Statement of Faith (which is included in the bylaws). For any changes to that portion of the bylaws, the entire membership still must be consulted. The Citygate Network Statement of Faith has not seen substantive changes in many decades, and none are expected.

 

New Board Members and Officers Elected
The ballots presented for District-Elected Board Members and an At-Large Board Member submitted by the nominating committee were all approved by the membership in the November elections. Starting their three-year board terms on January 1 will be Bruce Butler (Union Gospel Mission, Dallas, Texas), serving the Rawhide District, and Peter Duraisami (The Scott Mission, Toronto, Ontario), serving the Northern Lights District. Continuing on for three years as the representative from the Sierra District will be Matt Dildine (Fresno Rescue Mission, Fresno, California). Bill Mollard (Union Gospel Mission, Vancouver, B.C.) was elected to fill the At-Large seat for the next three years. District presidents and vice-presidents elected for three-year terms were (respectively): Jeff Gilman (Redwood Gospel Mission, Santa Rosa, California) and Lisa Chastain (Gospel Rescue Mission, Tucson, Arizona) for the Sierra District; Erin Goodin (City Rescue Mission, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and Hank Rush (Star of Hope, Houston, Texas) for the Rawhide District; and Michelle Porter (Souls Harbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia) and Carmen Rempel (Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, Kelowna, B.C.) for the Northern Lights District.

 

SUGM Demonstrates the Advantage of Measuring Outcomes
You’ve heard us say for a few years that outcome statistics will prove critical for every organization in the days ahead, for multiple reasons. Here are three important ones: 1. To identify deficiencies in your programs and make appropriate adjustments; 2) to appeal to your major donors and foundations, both of whom want to see the results more than hear about the need; and 3) to use in the public square in order to make a case for your ministry methods. Watch this Alliance Defending Freedom video featuring Scott Chin from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (SUGM), and observe the importance of having outcome statistics at the ready. By the way, this case is still pending. Pray that the Supreme Court agrees to hear it during the current session. It will have far-reaching implications for all religious organizations.

 

CEO Continues to Meet with Members
Citygate Network President John Ashmen has kept up his heavy travel schedule this fall, visiting member organizations, as invited or as his meeting and speaking schedule permits. In the past few weeks, he met with board and/or staff at member organizations in Tennessee, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. This week, he is with members in Oregon and Washington state. On Monday, he met the relatively new CEO at Union Gospel Mission of Portland, Jason Christensen for the first time. “Being with members and seeing their operations and hearing about the things they’re handling every day is important as we develop and fine-tune the services Citygate Network provides,” says Ashmen. “I’m constantly amazed by the creative approach members are taking as we continue to come out of COVID,” he continued, “and hearing how the power of the gospel continues to change lives never gets old.” To see if John is going to be in your area or to schedule an event with him in 2022, contact Executive Assistant Alice Gifford.

 

Thrift Store Owners to Gather in Florida
The Association of Christian Thrift Stores (ACTS) will hold its annual conference at the Springhill Suites in Lakeland, Florida, from January 16–19, 2022. The program offers seven sessions that pertain specifically to thrift store micro-enterprises, and it will also include a tour of the local Lighthouse Ministries Thrift Stores. Click here for more information and to register.

 

GuideStar Makes Changes to Profile Questionnaire
In 2019, Foundation Center and GuideStar joined to become Candid (even though the GuideStar name can still be found throughout the entity’s website). Candid identifies itself as an information service specializing in reporting on and assigning U.S. nonprofit companies with rankings: Bronze (basic information), Silver (financial information), Gold (goal and strategy information), and Platinum (progress and result information). Those filling out information these days may be surprised to find that that there are now demographic questions that reflect the partnership Candid has with Change Philanthropy. Additionally, organizations hoping to achieve the Gold or Platinum levels are also asked to share the policies and practices used to build a culture of equity and inclusion. If that piques your curiosity, as it should, check it out here.

 

Advocating on Your Behalf
Citygate Network joined numerous other faith-based organizations (including ECFA, CCCU, Faith & Giving, American Red Cross, and United Way Worldwide) in signing a letter to Congress that asks for an expansion and extension of the temporary Universal Charitable Deduction (UCD), scheduled to expire December 31, 2021. The document urges Congress to prioritize this legislation over the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act (ACE Act, S. 1981) that focuses on giving to and through donor-advised funds (DAFs). While this letter does not address the relative merits of the ACE Act, it does convey to Congress that most charities/nonprofits have higher legislative priorities with more empirical evidence and solid backing from a majority of national, state, and local charities and nonprofits, including the UCD.

 

Citygate Network Would Like to Read Your Thanksgiving Stories
Citygate Network members host tens of thousands of people around their tables at Thanksgiving and deliver several thousand more meals through outreach activities. For many of the people touched by your special efforts over the holiday, it's their first point of contact with your ministry. Beyond turkey and all the trimmings, they dine on compassion, community, God's grace, and love. If you'd like to share a compelling story of Thanksgiving ministry, and you're open to that story being shared on Citygate Network's social media or press releases, please forward your anecdote to editor@citygatenetwork.org, and we'll pick some to share in different ways.

 

Looking Down the Street

  • Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia (Macon, Georgia) donated turkeys to Augusta Rescue Mission (Augusta, Georgia) in response to a post asking for help on Citygate Network’s Deep South District Connect Group. Augusta did not receive any donated turkeys and had been unable to purchase them in bulk from local grocery stores. Other district members also provided advice for smaller missions, including placing turkey orders in March!
  • CEO Andy Bales, Union Rescue Mission (Los Angeles, California), accepted an appointment to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Commission. County supervisors appoint five members, and the L.A. mayor and city council appoint the other five. Responsible for making financial, planning, and program policies, Andy will bring a faith-based, recovery approach to the conversations.
  • Fresno Rescue Mission (Fresno, California) succeeded in setting a new Guinness World Record for the longest chain of socks. They accomplished the feat by stringing an estimated 80,000 socks onto a clothesline measuring 7.39 miles. Treating the event as a sock donation/fundraiser, they now look forward to distributing the socks to those experiencing homelessness in their community.
  • Welcome Hall Mission (Montreal, Ontario, Canada) unveiled a trendy new youth center in Montreal North, specifically designed to cater to young people between 15 and 30. The mission intentionally wants to bring their services to the communities that need them most, offering help to young people wanting to access housing, single mothers trying to feed their children, or dropouts looking for a way to complete their schooling.
  • The staff at Denver Rescue Mission (Denver, Colorado) grieves the loss of an employee who was fatally stabbed by a former resident last week outside a shelter they operate in partnership with the City of Denver. This tragedy is a stark reminder that, despite security measures, the work you do can become suddenly dangerous. Please pray for the DRM staff and the family of 30-year-old Fabian Olguin, as they mourn his death.
  • The Valley Rescue Mission (Columbus, Georgia) board has announced the hiring of Vann Ellison to fill the CEO role. He will take over on January 1, 2022, for retiring CEO Rhonda Mobley, who served the mission for almost 20 years.
  • We recently welcomed three new members into the network:
    • The Marie Sandvik Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota) returns to membership after a six-year absence, so please reach out to greet CEO Kristen Hink.
    • The board at Carthage Crisis Center (Carthage, Missouri) approved the mission for Citygate Network membership at the request of Executive Director Jim Benton. Jim previously served at Goodwill Mission in Newark, New Jersey. Tell him “Hi.”
    • Roseburg Rescue Mission (Roseburg, Oregon) has rejoined Citygate Network. Please say hello and welcome CEO Mr. Lynn Antis, when you get a chance.

TELL US: Do you have news to share with other network members? Send a blurb to Alice Gifford. Include as many details as possible. We'll handle the editing

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Share the Stories That Drive Your Mission
Wealthy donors who field endless donation requests have become emotionally drained after the multitude of crises that occurred over the past 20 months. Some affluent philanthropists who stepped up their financial support during the heart of the pandemic have started looking at focusing their giving toward organizations that work on the root causes of problems like persistent poverty and financial instability among working families, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy article. Amy Basore Murphy, director of donor relations at the St. Louis Community Foundation, says, “When the donor feels they made a big difference and that individuals were helped, then they continue to support those nonprofits.” Clear communication about how a donor’s contributions directly impact those in need tends to connect them on an emotional and human level.
Consider: Your client’s stories and life transformations have great power to appeal to your donor’s emotions and motivations—stay focused on communicating at that personal and individual level, rather than making general statements about the work you do.

 

Courts Hold Pharmacies Accountable
A federal jury in Cleveland determined that three of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains (CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens) were substantial contributors to the surge in opioid overdoses and deaths in two Ohio counties. This ruling marks the first time the retail branch of the drug industry has been considered partially responsible. The amount each of the three companies must pay will be determined following hearings in the spring, but this verdict should encourage plaintiffs in similar lawsuits all over the country who rely on a similar “public nuisance” legal strategy. Previously, that argument has been rejected by judges in state cases against opioid manufacturers, claiming the companies’ activities did not have a close enough connection to the overdoses. But after a six-week trial, the 12-member jury sent a warning message that these cases won’t necessarily play out well in court, which could prod some pharmacy defendants to consider settlement instead of going to trial.

 

Guaranteed Income Programs Gain Traction
While not a new concept, the COVID-19 pandemic has ramped up worldwide public discourse about guaranteed income programs—initiatives to ensure a minimum income level for a given population. There are two broad categories of these plans. Universal Basic Income (UBI) programs aim to offer enough money for a basic subsistence living to every single adult, while Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) projects might provide a more modest amount—less than enough to live on—to a more targeted group of people, which varies widely by municipality. In the U.S., an increasing number of cities—at least a dozen—have begun experimenting with guaranteed income programs. The Los Angeles’ pilot program, Big:Leap, is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and purportedly aims to study the effects of giving approximately 3,000 families $1,000 a month in cash, with no strings attached. Eligible applicants for the L.A. program must be over the age of 18, live in L.A., have at least one dependent, and be living in poverty, as defined by the federal poverty guidelines. Similar programs have received mixed reviews, since a guaranteed income offers a degree of economic security, but most do not require any other interventions.

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Drug Overdose Deaths Set New Record
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the U.S. recorded 100,306 drug-overdose deaths in a 12-month period (April 2020 – April 2021), passing 100,000 drug-overdose deaths in that time span for the first time ever. The total marks an almost 29 percent increase in overdose-related deaths over the previous 12-month period. It takes months to compile these records because drug overdoses involve local death investigations and toxicology tests to confirm. Opioid-related deaths account for approximately three-quarters of that total, with fentanyl abuse responsible for many of those. That particular drug flourished in New England, the Appalachians, and Midwest states for several years, but it has now become an aggressive problem in the western U.S. as well.

 

Abstinence Gaining in Popularity
New data from the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) reveals that the number of young people (aged 35 and under) abstaining from sex has increased in recent years. Just over 20 percent of all respondents in that age group reported they had not had sex in the past year, and that number rises to 29 percent when looking at those who have never been married. Abstinence has shown an upward trend since 2008, when only eight percent of people under 35 went a full year without engaging in sex. Abstinence numbers often seem to correlate with religiosity for those who have never married, even though less than 20 percent attend church more than once a month. However, data points indicate a sharp increase in abstinence since 2008, when 20 percent of those who attend church more frequently reported not having had sex in the last year, compared to 60 percent making the same claim in this year’s study. IFS also found that fewer young people get married these days, backed up by statistics showing that just over 50 percent of under-35s had never married in the 1990s, but as many as 60–75 percent remain unmarried over the last decade.

 

More Employers Mandating Vaccination
According to data from the job site Ladders, job postings that require a vaccination increased by 100 percent between September and October. Experts anticipate that number will continue to rise in the months ahead and eventually become so commonplace that it will be assumed, rather than requested. Research does indicate that employers in blue states more commonly note COVID-19 vaccination requirements than businesses in red states, which show an 80 percent increase, compared to the 113 percent increase documented in blue states. The expectation is that, as more employers incorporate vaccine requirements, fewer employees will leave because they won’t have as many options for other employment.

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Reeling From the Rain
The catastrophic flooding in British Columbia has created shortages in consumer goods and driven up gasoline prices because of supply-chain shutdowns and panic buying. B.C. Premier John Horgan declared a state of emergency due to devastating torrential rains in the southern part of the province. Unfortunately, the transportation disruptions have necessitated that farmers in the Fraser Valley dump perishables like milk and eggs because trucks can’t get the products to stores. Throughout the province of more than five million people, including the greater Vancouver area, communities have experienced power outages, evacuations, and road closures due to rock or mudslides and flooding.

Citygate Network members in British Columbia have weathered the storm with varying levels of impact. Although none have suffered facility damages, all feel the effects of supply chain disruptions. Remember Kelowna’s Gospel Mission (Kelowna, British Columbia), Ruth and Naomi Mission (Chilliwack, British Columbia), and Union Gospel Mission (Vancouver, British Columbia) in your prayers as they continue to serve as light and salt in their communities.

 

Concerns Mount as Prices Continue to Climb
The October annual inflation rate came in at 4.7 percent, causing four out of five Canadians to rank themselves as worried or very worried, according to a recent Ipsos poll. High living costs were a top concern for 78 percent of the respondents, and six out of 10 with children under 18 expressed concern about having enough money to feed their families. As members of younger generations struggle with rising inflation, they also complain about the extremely high real estate prices in major cities, affecting their ability to start and raise families. The Canadian Real Estate Association reports that Canada’s national average home price reached $716,585 in October, reflecting an almost 33 percent increase since the pandemic began. Supply chain issues and extreme weather have also contributed to the 30 percent increase in food prices over the past year. Now that we have reached the end of the growing season, experts predict those numbers will continue climbing in the months ahead.

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Exploring the Big Business of Skin Whitening
CNN’s As Equals project has introduced a new series called White Lies: Exposing the Dangers of Skin Whitening to examine what has apparently become a worldwide phenomenon. This multibillion-dollar industry promotes dangerous practices and products to people adversely affected by colorism, defined as discrimination against skin color within a racial or ethnic group, by showing favor to people with lighter skin over those with darker skin. Apparently, some of the same companies that have publicly committed themselves to promoting equality have also invested manufacturing and marketing dollars toward products that claim to lighten skin. This damaging beauty standard affects billions of people all over the world, including the U.S., whose population makes up one-third of the market for these dangerous products. White Lies wants to expose and hold accountable those corporations and government agencies who manufacture, profit from, or deregulate products and prescription medications designed to lighten skin.

 

Hispanics Model a Different Kind of Giving
An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times suggested that it’s time to adjust the traditional definition of philanthropy because of the variety of cultures represented in the U.S. Author Luis A. Miranda Jr., a Latino, believes that philanthropy measurements should take into consideration the ways people of all backgrounds practice generosity. He referenced the fact that Latinos and other people groups with family in other countries regularly send their hard-earned money overseas to help their relatives. That kind of giving doesn’t get reflected in traditional charitable donation reports. Neither does informal volunteering like neighborly assistance or reaching out to immigrant families with food or supplies. For family-centric Hispanics, these kinds of relationships and giving shape a large portion of how they give, although they don’t show up in philanthropic studies. The Generosity Commission just launched as a nonpartisan group this fall, intended to help us better understand and encourage both formal and informal acts of kindness. As a founding member, Miranda believes that philanthropy statistics should capture the breadth and depth of generosity that diverse communities practice across the country.

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Market Street

Check out the most recent list of openings on our Careers page.

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The Power of Thankfulness

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:14 (NLT)

During the recent Thanksgiving festivities, I noticed lots of articles on the value of gratitude or thanksgiving—even in business and finance magazines. These articles haven’t just tipped their journalistic hats to the holiday season, but they seem to have discovered something that people of faith have known for years: there is tremendous power in giving thanks, both internally and externally.

Nearly 25 years ago I attended a Thanksgiving service in Lagos, Nigeria. The room overflowed for hours of singing, dancing, joy, and celebration. This was not an event rooted in a national holiday, it was a response to all the ways God was working in people’s lives.

Like many of you, I began this year a little bruised and battered by 2020, so in many ways, 2021 has been one of experiments:

  • Giving my priorities a reset and making sure the reset showed up in how I spend my time.
  • Walking away from some comfort zones.
  • Daring to say no.
  • Daring to say yes.

I am thankful for God’s faithfulness in the journey. I am grateful for His goodness, His kindness, His power, the way His redemptive hand moves through the mountains and the valleys of life. Thankfulness has brought with it unexpected feelings of possibility. I thank God for how He’s been moving, for provision, for answered prayers, and even for painful clarity. (You know those times when the truth really hurts but it also sets you free?)

This time thankfulness has sowed seeds of vision, and it’s activated something that I’m scared to feel but ultimately can’t resist: HOPE.

Written by Jo Saxton and Used with Permission. Jo will be one of our keynote speakers at the Annual Conference and Exposition in San Antonio, in June 2022.

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Street Smart is provided to you as a member service of Citygate Network, and is published on the 1st and 15th of each month (unless those dates fall on a weekend or holiday). The content does not necessarily represent the views of or imply endorsement by Citygate Network. To submit items for publication, email editor@citygatenetwork.org