Since 1982 the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio has managed and administered the Community Responsibility Endowment Fund (CREF). Each year the elected CREF Trustees award grants to support projects that address the community needs in the San Antonio metropolitan area and that reflect the values of the members of the church.
Funds for the CREF grants come from the income, interest, and dividends earned from its endowment principal. CREF contributions are added to the principal each year through a fundraising drive that members of this church generously support with donations of all sizes. The endowment is also increased through funds bequeathed or devised by will to the CREF Trustees designated for charitable, religious, educational and scientific purposes.
How CREF Works
• The amount of interest and dividends earned during one calendar year is the total amount of funds available for grants in the next calendar year.
• In June, CREF solicits nominations for possible grant recipients. Nominations may be made at any time throughout the year by church members using the nomination form below. The cut-off date is announced when nominations open and will also be listed on the website. Nominations received after the announced cut-off date, will be considered for the next year.
• In July, the eligible 501(c)(3) nominated organizations are sent a letter inviting them to apply for funds that will help with a project that supports the activities and/or projects which reflect the values of the membership of the congregation. The applications are due by the end of August.
• The CREF trustees review the applications, select the recipient(s) and decide the amount of the grant(s) to be awarded.
• In the fall, CREF conducts its annual fundraising drive to raise money to grow the CREF endowment, and increase the amount of earnings CREF has to award for grants in future years.
• CREF never spends the endowment principal without an affirmative vote of no less than three quarters (3/4) of the members of the Church present at a regularly scheduled meeting attended by no less than 40% of the eligible members of the Church.
• On a selected Sunday in the fall, representatives from the chosen organization(s) are presented with the grant(s) during the worship service.
Nominate An Organization Today!
CREF FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Does the organization I want to nominate have to have a 501(c )(3) tax exemption?
A: Yes. The CREF trust document requires that the organization receiving a CREF grant have a 501(c ) (3) tax exemption. When submitting their applications to CREF, all organizations are required to submit their IRS tax letter as proof that they are a 501(c )(3).
Q: The organization I want to nominate is not located in San Antonio. Is that OK?
A: Yes, IF the focus of the project under consideration is limited to the San Antonio Metropolitan Area (SAMA) or its residents. SAMA includes Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina and Wilson counties. Be aware that if the organization’s work is entirely outside the SAMA and the project does not directly benefit residents of the SAMA, it will not be competitive.
Q: The organization I want to nominate is desperately in need of funds to “keep the lights on” to keep doing the good work they do. Can I nominate them for a grant?
A: The CREF grants are specifically for projects that reflect the charitable, religious, educational and scientific considerations of our church. The trustees have not awarded grants to assist with general operating expenses, rather it asks organizations to specify a particular project; and the grant can cover those costs, including its staff and program expenses.
Q: Once I nominate an organization will you notify me when they receive an application or when they have submitted their grant application to CREF?
A: No. Every 501(c )(3) organization nominated will receive an application by July 10th. We suggest you follow up with the organization’s contact person that you listed on your nomination form after July 15th to urge them to get the application in. Not all organizations nominated turn in applications. The CREF trustees select grantees from the applications received. Applications will due in by August 20, 2018.
Q: If the organization I am thinking about has received funding in the past from CREF before, may I still submit a request?
A. Yes, if it meets all the guidelines. However, the CREF trust document provides that the same project may not receive funding for more than 2 years.
Q: Who receives and reviews the applications?
A: The CREF trustees will meet to review and select between 3 and 5 grantees.
Q: Who do I contact if I have a question about submitting an organization?
A: You may contact any of the CREF trustees if you have questions regarding submitting a nomination. But please read the website and these FAQs first – we believe that all the necessary information regarding nominations is contained on this website.
Q: Who does the organization contact if it has a question?
A: If the question is regarding the nomination then they should contact you – the First UU Congregant who wishes to nominate them. If the question is regarding the application, a contact name and email will be provided on the application itself.
Q: What range of funds are available to suggest to the non-profit organization?
A: Awards have historically been granted anywhere from between $500 and $5,000.