What Is Benevolence?

Merriam-Webster defines benevolence as an act of kindness and a generous gift.

At Good Shepherd, a portion of all undesignated giving, also called operating funds, is allocated for benevolence giving. This includes external organizations and ministries to whom Good Shepherd sends regular donations and internal ministries and programs.

Currently a total of 20.25% of operating funds are set aside off the top for benevolence. In other words, for every dollar donated, 20.25 cents go to support these ministries and programs within Good Shepherd, locally in the metropolitan DC area and beyond.

External ministries receive a little over half or 12.8% of benevolence giving and include:

Internal ministries receiving the remaining 7.4% of benevolence funds are:

  • Community Outreach
  • Evangelical Outreach
  • Pastor’s Discretionary Fund
  • Triennial Youth Gathering
  • Long-Term Maintenance Fund

Through the 2021 Matching Funds Giving Campaign, we hope to grow regular (undesignated) giving over the coming year. Will you consider increasing your regular giving by a small increment? Your kind and generous gifts will provide ongoing support for Good Shepherd benevolence activities.

The external organizations Good Shepherd supports through benevolence giving help our neighbors locally and beyond in critical ways that embody our mission:

The largest portion of external benevolence giving is sent to the ELCA Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod to support their mission and outreach programs. The Metro DC Synod:

  • Gives support to new mission start congregations.
  • Provides assistance for congregations in the call process or in conflict.
  • Facilitates continuing education and coaching for pastors and deacons
  • Gives scholarship funding to seminarians.
  • Supports Lutheran summer camps and retreat centers.
  • Promotes youth and family ministry opportunities.
  • Contributes toward Lutheran colleges and seminaries.
  • Provide funding for campus ministries, prison chaplains and ministries, and elder care programs.

Lutheran Social Services (LSS) is a key organizations helping to resettle refugees arriving in northern Virginia, DC and Maryland and throughout the country, most recently from Afghan.

By the end of September, LSS of the National Capital Area had welcomed more than 550 individuals. To get a sense of their impact, LSS typically served approximately 500 refugees per year prior to the current crisis.

They rely on grants from the U.S. Departments of State and Health and Human Services, local state and county grants, and the generosity of its community – including GSLC members – to provide housing and food assistance, employment services, life skills training, and other critical services to refugees, who often arrive with only the clothes they have on their backs.

Locally, Good Shepherd is a long-standing congregation member and supporter of ALIVE!. As the oldest and largest private safety net in the City of Alexandria dedicated to fighting poverty and hunger, ALIVE!:

  • Hosts monthly food distribution sites in Alexandria and pop-up food distribution events at neighborhoods throughout the city.
  • Provides monetary assistance to Alexandria city residents for rent, utilities, medical expenses and other emergency needs.
  • ALIVE! House provides temporary housing and support for women and families in emergency and transitional situations.
  • Partners in the Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership (AEPP) that connects Alexandria residents experiencing housing insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic to resources and information, and provides support to residents applying for rental assistance or navigating the eviction process.

Look for more information soon on how Good Shepherd’s internal ministries use benevolence funds to carry out their missions.