New Kid on the Block
As one of the newer staff members at Episcopal Relief & Development, there has been much for me to learn about the organization. From our life saving work post-disaster, to our community development programs around the world, I truly feel that I am just one small piece of a much larger purpose. It feels good coming to work everyday knowing that I make a difference by helping to raise the funds necessary to continue this important work.
Overseeing the Sustainers Circle, our monthly giving program, I spend a great deal of time connecting with many of our loyal supporters. One thing I always try to do is to express our gratitude for each gift, no matter the size. We understand that there are many worthy causes out there, and it is meaningful knowing donors choose to support our mission.
One piece of feedback I never get tired of hearing is that donors like giving to Episcopal Relief & Development. They know that with us their donations are in good hands as they have built a trust and have faith in an organization with a 75-year track record of healing a hurting world.
One particular donor sticks out in my mind: Judy Goans from Clinton, TN. In our first conversation, we discussed her reasons for supporting Episcopal Relief & Development. I learned that Judy is particularly drawn to our water programs because she sees clean water as a basic right for everyone.
“We take clean water for granted in the United States, but in many parts of the world, clean water is a struggle,” she said. “I was just in Asia and noticed a story in the Myanmar Times: ‘Cholera Outbreak Kills 13.’ Can you imagine people dying from a disease like cholera in the 21st century?There is a frequently cited statistic that 2 million children die each year from diseases caused by lack of clean water and sanitation. I hear a statistic like that and think, that’s more than all of the children in the state of Tennessee.
“For me, water is also a feminist issue. In many places, the burden of fetching water for the family falls to women and girls. This takes up time that they could use to make money for their families, or to pursue an education. In some places, it is dangerous to fetch water because of the risk of assault – or wild animals. And when the schools don’t have bathrooms, the girls stop attending, which further limits their prospects in life,” she said.
This prompted Judy and her husband Ron to take action by contributing to Episcopal Relief & Development as monthly donors. As members of the Sustainers Circle, the Goans family also belong to a community of monthly givers who are committed to providing support for our work throughout the year.
Judy stated, “I love monthly giving. I understand how important it is for the organization to have a steady stream of income, and it’s easy. I picked an amount that we could give without feeling a pinch and set it up as a recurring contribution. It’s no trouble – and it adds up over time. I also love the Gifts for Life catalogue, which lets us see exactly what our money does. Designating gifts feels much more personal. I feel connected to Episcopal Relief & Development’s work each time I give.”
Judy and Ron joined the Episcopal Church in 1990. Their journey with the Episcopal Church began on Easter of the previous year, when the family was running late for church.
“I feel like the Holy Spirit put us exactly where we needed to be. I had driven past Good Shepherd a thousand times but had never been in the building. I saw the sign for an 11:00 service at Good Shepherd, we pulled into the exit, and we’ve been there ever since. Ron and I both really like the Episcopal service. I like praying with your whole body. I love it that our prayers mention people by name. And I love being connected to Anglicans around the world. When I don’t go to church I feel like something is missing.”
As an attorney, Judy often travels overseas and works on a range of community development programs. Most recently she was in Laos. When I asked her about how her charitable giving helps her to live her faith, she immediately quoted Matthew 25, the same verse from which Episcopal Relief & Development takes its mandate. If she could say one thing to the people around the world who are strengthening their communities through Episcopal Relief & Development’s partnerships with local organizations, it would be “Jesus loves you, and so do we.”
Episcopal Relief & Development is an organization where our donors and staff are deeply committed to making the world a better place. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful community.
Lauren Fiata is the Monthly Giving and Donor Relations Associate at Episcopal Relief & Development.
Images: Top,Woman gathering water in Nicaragua. Middle 1, Judy with her family. Middle 2, Woman gathering water in Nicaragua. Last, Judy and Ron in their home. Images courtesy of Judy Goans.
Healing the world starts with your story!
During the 75th Anniversary Celebration, we are sharing 75 stories over 75 weeks – illustrating how lives are transformed through the shared abundance of our partners and friends like you! We invite you to join us in inspiring our vibrant community by sharing your own story!