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Opportunity Fund in the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee

Forms for making grant requests may be downloaded below or obtained from the diocesan administrator at the diocesan office (814 Episcopal School Way, Knoxville Tenn., 37932). In preparing your request, feel free to expand the space provided for the information, but please follow the format.

Importantly, applicants for a grant must go through a parish, commission or Bishop and Council for sponsorship. There should be an ongoing relationship between the sponsor and the organization for which the grant is intended. When a grant has been obtained, the sponsor should maintain this relationship to ensure that the funds are used to meet the needs described in the request.

The Opportunity Fund is a wonderful resource. Your attention to these procedures will be most gratefully appreciated.

Information and applications for both Social Ministries Grants and Church Expansion Grants and Loans are available here as PDF files. (Adobe Acrobat® Reader® is a free program to read PDF files; it may be downloaded from Adobe’s Web site.)

Please note that applications for both programs are restricted as described below in “Policies and Procedures.” Completed applications are due April 1 and September 1 of each year.

Social Ministries Grant

View Application

Church Expansion Grant or Loan

View Application


  • A. Oversight

    An Opportunity Fund Committee shall be appointed by the Bishop to receive all loan and grant applications and to make recommendations to the Bishop and Council. All Opportunity Fund grants and loans are made by the Bishop and Council (with the exception of the emergency loans). See B. 5.

  • B. Corpus

    1. The corpus of the fund shall at all times be maintained and preserved and only the income therefrom expended for purposes hereinafter provided.

    2. The Treasurer of the Diocese shall be custodian of the fund, and he or she shall deposit such fund with a Federal or State Bank having trust powers or with the Episcopal Endowment Corporation.

    3. The corpus of the fund shall be invested at the direction of the Bishop and Council in:

    a. Low interest loans to parishes and worshiping communities within the Diocese. The maximum term for these loans is 15 years. The present rates are: Current prime rate less 10% for parishes. Current prime rate less 30% for worshiping communities. (Prime rate is to be that of Suntrust Bank.)

    b. Other investments.

    4. The Bishop and Council may add other funds to the corpus of the Opportunity Fund at any time with the right to withdraw such funds at a future date.

    5. While all loans are subject to the approval of the Bishop and Council, the Bishop and the Opportunity Fund Committee shall have the authority to approve emergency loans of up to $10,000.00 on an interim basis and report such loans to the Bishop and Council. Such loans need to be ratified by Bishop and Council and placed in the minutes. Term and interest rates as stated in 3a apply.

  • C. Income

    1. The yearly income from the fund shall be divided and made available to the Bishop and Council for grants: one-half to church expansion and one-half to social ministries.

    a. Church expansion grants include money for land purchases for future sites; land, buildings, and equipment for existing worshiping communities; and building and equipment needs of parishes beyond the means of the congregation.

    b. Social ministry grants include assistance to parishes and worshiping communities within the Diocese that seek support for ministries that meet basic human needs (food, shelter, and energy, as well as emotional, educational and spiritual) and those ministries that seek to affect personal and/or societal transformation through education, rehabilitation and allocation of resources according to the mission and ministry of the Church. Ministries may be separate entities, but must have significant Episcopal Church involvement and their grant applications must be approved by Vestry/Council/Board of Directors of their sponsoring Diocesan organization.

    c. Seed money for new projects will be given priority.

    d. No annual grant shall be repeated for more than three consecutive years. The above social ministry grants are to be awarded to ministries within the Diocese or to ministries sponsored by diocesan organizations as in b. above. Any funding of a grant or ministry project outside the diocese must be matched by funds from the sponsoring agent.

    2. Yearly income not expended in a given year pursuant to the foregoing provisions shall accumulate in the Opportunity Fund and shall be designated as the Mission Growth Fund. This fund shall be allowed to accumulate and interest earned thereon shall be rolled over into the Mission Growth Fund. Further, solicitations may be made at appropriate times and by appropriate persons to add to this particular fund within the Opportunity Fund. This fund shall be used for church expansion grants within the diocese, including personnel and program support for new worshiping community development and the purchase of new land for potential sites and for the building of facilities for new congregations.

    3. Follow up evaluation and accounting of social ministry grant money received is expected within one year of the date the grant was awarded. The form for this evaluation is to be sent with the money granted and returned to an appointed diocesan staff person. See D. 1.

  • D. Process

    1. Initial inquiries are received and processed by an appointed diocesan staff person, who:

    a. mails out application forms and guidelines to those who request them.

    b. maintains a master list of all organizations to whom application forms have been sent.

    c. collates and coordinates the return of evaluation forms.

    2. Applications for loans and grants are to be made in writing on forms available at Diocesan House. Grants may be initiated by the Bishop and Council, a parish, a worshiping community, or an area commission of the Diocese. Parishes and worshiping communities may apply for expansion grants and loans.