More than 400 pastors receive $2 million in debt relief since 2016
Pastoral Financial Wellness Program funding remains for financial education events and financial planning subsidies
GOSHEN, Indiana – Since 2016, 413 pastors received a combined total of $2 million to alleviate significant financial and debt burdens.
The $2 million was provided to active and credentialed pastors from Anabaptist and like-minded denominations and church networks who qualified for direct financial assistance grants through the Everence® Pastoral Financial Wellness Program – an initiative funded, in part, by two $1 million grants from the Lilly Endowment Inc.
The COVID-19 pandemic, especially, has intensified the already existing challenges faced by many pastors and faith communities. As needs have risen, so have the number of applications for financial assistance grants from the Pastoral Financial Wellness Program – ultimately depleting the funds available for that part of the program.
“Even under normal situations, pastors face unique and often difficult financial circumstances – much less in the midst of a pandemic, when many churches experienced a decline in giving,” said Madalyn Metzger, Everence Vice President of Marketing and Pastoral Financial Wellness Program Director.
The Pastoral Financial Wellness Program’s financial assistance grants were designed to help pastors alleviate immediate financial burdens such as medical, credit card and educational debt. In March 2020, Lilly approved a request from Everence to shift additional funding into the program’s financial assistance grants component, to further help pastors and churches with the greatest need and lowest capacity to address unexpected COVID-19 challenges.
“The depletion of financial assistance grants doesn’t mean the Pastoral Financial Wellness Program is over,” Metzger continued. “We still have funds available for pastor financial education events and financial planning subsidies and will continue meeting these needs through the remainder of 2021 and, most likely, beyond.”
In addition to the financial assistance grants, more than 2,300 pastors and church leaders have attended Everence-sponsored financial education events and nearly 240 pastors have received subsidies to help them develop a comprehensive financial plan provided by Everence financial consultants – all as part of this unique program.
“Due to its ongoing success, Everence and our denominational partners are discussing ways to sustain the program’s life beyond 2021,” said Metzger. “In particular, we hope to find ways to further support under-resourced pastors and churches, and those who are most severely impacted by the pandemic.”
Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of professionals. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. To learn more, visit everence.com or call (800) 348-7468.