Grant Application

  1. The ministry (program/project) must contribute directly to the mission and ministries of making disciples of Jesus Christ and must be consistent with the doctrine and social principles of the United Methodist Book of Discipline.
  2. The ministry should focus on developing intentional, innovative, and creative ministries by, with, and for older adults.
  3. The Golden Cross Foundation is affiliated with the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. Grants are made to United Methodist churches and agencies and affiliated organizations in the Tennessee Conference as well as not-for-profit organizations which grew out of or have a current connection to a Tennessee Conference United Methodist church or agency. On rare occasions the Golden Cross Foundation board reserves the right to consider grant applications from organizations not affiliated with The United Methodist Church but that serve United Methodists along with other constituencies, or, in the opinion of the board, can serve as an innovative model for future ministries of United Methodist churches or agencies.
  4. Generally, ministries funded will have the following characteristics:
    • Address root causes of critical issues related to older adults
    • Include a process for local churches, districts, or other entities to listen, discern, and respond to the issues and concerns of older adults
    • Enhance the spiritual faith development of older adults
    • Demonstrate significant involvement of older adults in decision-making, development, and implementation of the program/project
    • Be culturally sensitive and inclusive in all aspects of the program/project
    • Demonstrate a commitment from other funding partners for ongoing support
  5. Generally, grants are awarded as 50 percent matching grants. Grant funds are generally not disbursed until the church or agency has the match for the grant in hand.
  6. Grants will be awarded on a one-year basis. Churches or groups may reapply for grants of innovative new ministries, up to a total of three years, provided that the program or ministry has a viable and demonstrated plan for ongoing funding after Golden Cross Grants are complete. Special consideration for repeat grants may be given to churches or agencies that serve low-income senior adults where a self-sustaining income plan is more difficult to achieve. A church or agency may apply for only one grant per year.
  7. Churches receiving grants agree to “pay forward” these grants by taking a Golden Cross offering on the second Sunday of September or another Sunday of their choosing.
  8. Churches receiving grants agree to remain a congregation of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church for a minimum of 24 months from receipt of grants. Failure to do so—whether by closure, disaffiliation, or any other
    process authorized by General Conference—will result in the churches returning the entire grant amounts prior to their departure from The United Methodist Church.
  9. Funds are not granted for budget deficit reduction or debt retirement.
  10. Grant applications are accepted all year and are reviewed at quarterly Golden Cross Foundation board meetings.
Golden Cross Foundation Grant Programs

ENCORE Ministry Grants

  1. New Older Adult Ministry Program Grants – Available to United Methodist churches that do not presently have an active older adult ministry program and wish to start one. These grants are from $1,000 to $2,500. There is no match required for the first $1,000; a 50 percent is required for additional amounts from $1,001 to $2,500.
  2. Growing Older Adult Ministry Program Grants – Available to United Methodist churches with existing older adult programs that wish to expand or branch out into new areas of ministry and lack the funds to do so. Grants are from $1,000 to $2,500 and are 50 percent matching.

Golden Cross Foundation Grants

  1. Fred and June Blankenship Grants for Individual Assistance
    Available to United Methodist churches wishing to assist older adults in their church or community with personal and/or financial needs which neither the church nor the individual can fully fund. Grants are from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on need and are 50 percent matching grants.
  2. Church Retrofit Fund Grants
    Available to United Methodist churches or Tennessee Conference office/districts to make their facilities accessible to older adults so that they may fully participate in the activities of the church. The maximum amount of these grants is $10,000 and they are 50 percent matching grants.
  3. Older Adult Community Service Grants
    Available to United Methodist churches or Tennessee Conference office/districts and related agencies to do training, empowering, or advocacy around older adult issues as well as other grant applications that seek to serve and empower older adults in the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. The usual range of these grants is $1,000 to $10,000 and are usually 50 percent matching grants.
  4. Golden Cross Disaster Relief Grants
    Available to United Methodist churches and agencies where disaster damage has significantly impacted the church or agency's ongoing older adult ministry. The maximum amount of these grants is $10,000 and they are 50 percent matching grants.
  5. Strategic Initiatives Grants (determined by GCF board)
    Offers funding for ministry and other initiatives serving the basic needs of older adults in the areas of nutrition, housing, transportation, and healthcare. Its flexible criteria allow board members to expand its boundaries for offering assistance. Options include partnering with organizations, individuals, or corporations to support larger projects or programs such as  launching a feeding ministry or health screening program or creating housing opportunities. Starting in 2020, a total of $150,000 has been reserved for three years.
Grant Application Form Question #9

The items below correspond to question 9 sections A–E and are intended to help applicants know more fully what the board is looking for in each section.

A.   Stating the Problem/Need

  • What are the issues or needs that are being addressed by the church, district, or other Tennessee Conference-related entity requesting these funds?
  • Have the persons who will benefit from this ministry been involved in the decisions about the proposed ministry or program?

B.   Description of the Ministry or Program

  • Please describe in detail the proposed ministry or program.
  • What are the desired outcomes?
  • What are the steps that must be taken to be successful?
  • Have there been previous attempts to address the issue/need?
  • Is there any other group in your community with a similar ministry or program?

    C.  Budget

    • Attach a complete, detailed budget for this ministry or program.
    • List income from all sources, (remember Golden Cross Foundation grants are generally 50 percent matching grants). Include both cash and in-kind contributions.
    • If the church or agency’s match for the grant is not in hand, describe your fundraising plan to raise the additional funds.
    • List all expected expenses.
    • If this is an ongoing program or ministry, how will the program be funded after the Golden Cross grant funding ends?
    • Attach contractor bids, drawings, pictures, and any other information that will help the committee understand the scope of the project.

    D.  Leadership

    • Who are the persons involved in leading the ministry or program?
    • Are a majority of the decision-makers older adults?

    E.   Evaluation Plan

    • Evaluation lets us know what a ministry or program looks like in operation as well as the results it is achieving. How are you going to evaluate this ministry or program?
    • Who will handle the evaluation?
    • All grant recipients including ENCORE Ministry require a written ministry evaluation within 12 months after receiving a grant from the Golden Cross Foundation.
    When Your Application is Complete

    Mail completed two-page application (including attachments A – E) to:

    Kent McNish, Executive Director
    Golden Cross Foundation
    304 South Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 9
    Nashville, TN 37211


    Grant Application Approval

    If your grant application is approved and funded, the church or agency will:

    1. Be notified by mail (email and/or phone call) no later than two weeks following the approval of your application.
    2. Be asked to sign and return a Grant Acceptance Agreement.
    3. Ensure the church or agency’s match for the grant is in hand prior to returning the Grant Acceptance Agreement.
    4. Receive a check for the full amount of the grant (unless other specific details are indicated upon grant approval).
    5. Be asked to evaluate the program/project within 12 months of receiving the grant award. This evaluation shall include photos of the ministry and at least a 500-word description/summary of the ministry or program.

    Download Application (PDF)
    Grant Evaluation

    An evaluation report must be completed and submitted along with photos and supporting documents within 12 months of receiving grant funding from the Golden Cross Foundation. Download Grant Evaluation Form