The 2016 Great Plains Annual Conference session voted to create the Poverty Alleviation Initiative, which has as one of its goals the plan to provide seed money to initiate sustainable and relationship-based programs that address poverty.
Grants are now available to help churches do the necessary work. While Circles, Networx and Bridges Out of Poverty training have been suggested models, churches are not limited to initiating these programs with the grant money.
These grants are available prior to congregations incurring any costs. The deadline for applications is Nov. 30. Grants may be as large as $6,000 to be distributed each January over a three-year period.
While the dollar amount may not allow for the creation of a robust program by itself, the funds can be a catalyst for securing resources necessary to continue to grow an effective poverty-alleviation program.
Instructions for submitting the applications can be found on the forms themselves.
The following book list are good resources for congregations working to understand and end poverty in their communities.
"Under-Resourced Learners" by Ruby Payne identifies resources all students need and delivers proven practical strategies for building up these resources for every student in every school.
"A Framework for Understanding Poverty" by Ruby Payne, Ph.D. How does poverty impact learning, work habits and decision-making? People in poverty face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle class or wealth — challenges from both obvious and hidden sources. The reality of being poor brings out a survival mentality, and turns attention away from opportunities taken for granted by everyone else.
"Bridges Out of Poverty" by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D., Philip E. DeVol, Terie Dreussi Smith is based in part on Dr. Ruby K. Payne's myth-shattering "A Framework for Understanding Poverty." Bridges reaches out to the millions of service providers and businesses whose daily work connects them with the lives of people in poverty.
"Tactical Communication" by Jodi R. Pfarr, Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D., Philip E. DeVol presents foundational concepts from Framework and Bridges adapted for law enforcement. Increases officer safety, effectiveness and leadership skills.
"What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty" by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D., Bill Ehlig. Churches often are perceived as open, welcoming environments, and many times that's true. But congregations, without even realizing it, sometimes make themselves inhospitable to people from poverty.
"Until It's Gone" by Scott C. Miller is the first action plan that joins the resources of individuals, organizations, communities, and government to eradicate poverty. Learn about the Circles Campaign and how you can help eliminate barriers confronted by those in poverty. Become an ally to those in need and a transformational leader in your community.
"Hidden Rules of Class at Work"; by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D., Don L. Krabil is written for people who supervise others. This book looks at how issues of class determine one's ability to survive in the workplace and offers tools necessary to move to a different level of the organization if one so desires.
"Getting Ahead" by Philip E. DeVol, is a workbook for people in poverty that shows how to use the hidden rules of class to build up financial, emotional, social, and other resources. Understanding the hidden rules of the middle class and wealth, and choosing to use them, can open doors to new relationships, new jobs, and higher resources. The workbook is designed to be used as an investigation tool by people working in groups with a trained facilitator. The participants explore the impact that poverty has had on them, investigate economic realities, complete a self-assessment of their own resources, make plans to build their own resources, and develop a mental model of community prosperity.